All seasons must come to an end and, alas, the time has come for your faithful editor to press on to new pastures and bid farewell to a community that has, from my first issue, been accepting and inspiring. My experiences in Hicksville throughout my tenure here will always remain a favorable chapter, yielding many friendships and rewards that have genuinely nurtured my sense of community.
Writing about this town has been enlightening and I look forward to returning and rediscovering the place where I witnessed many hopes and dreams materialize through this newspaper. I appreciate the opportunity to have glimpsed a brief history of Hicksville as editor of the Hicksville Illustrated News and I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to those whose resources and willing tales have furnished many memorable stories.
I have heard the distinctive voice of Hicksville. That is the greatest gift.
Tuesday evening, December 2, 1997, a Community Awareness Meeting was sponsored by the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce and hosted by Project for Public Spaces, Inc. to incorporate the concerns of the Hicksville residents, business people, and commercial building owners into the study being funded by Empire State Development Corp. Thanks to Assemblyman Marc Herbst's concern for the success of our revitalization efforts in downtown Hicksville, a grant was awarded to look into the issues facing Hicksville and how we can address them.
A quote that comes to mind is, "If you don't know where you're going you may miss it when you get there." Along with the many residents, this community meeting was attended by state, town, county officials, and agency representatives; representatives from services including the Long Island Rail Road, Long Island Lighting Company, the Nassau County Police Department, and others that are part of the daily operation of Hicksville; who listened as the residents expressed their concerns. Your voices were heard and from the information provided through Resident Surveys, Merchant, Pedestrian, and Transit Surveys, PPS will continue to compile data to address the issues of deepest concern. We will know exactly where we are going!
After the holidays, PPS will return and conduct another meeting to select committees and get us started on our way to bringing Hicksville back to life. Your attendance and input was invaluable and will be the cornerstone of rebuilding Hicksville. Please bring along a friend, neighbor, or anyone interested in our success to the next meeting.
I want to personally thank each and every person who took time from home, business, family and probably dinner, to attend. Your enthusiasm to "get to work" was overwhelming. It gave me great pride to see so many people join together to steer this project in the right direction. My best wishes to all of you for a healthy and happy holiday season.
Patricia M. Conway
Hicksville Chamber of Commerce
At the school board policy committee meeting of November 12, chaired by school board Vice President Nancy Callari, the agenda called for a review of policy #2160, school board ethics. The appropriateness of a school board attorney representing a sitting board member as a private client was briefly discussed.
At the Nov. 19 school board meeting, the school board attorney suggested that the board might adopt a "Code of Conduct," which limits access in regard to school board members retaining him on personal matters. This is an excellent idea and it should be pursued by the board.
The attorney spent a great deal of time defending his practice of "giving advice" to everyone and little, if any, time dealing with the issue of representing sitting board members, as clients, for a fee. I agree with the attorney, that his practice of "giving advice" informally does not constitute a conflict of interest. However, I feel that it would be mutually beneficial if sitting board members and the school attorney avoided any formal client/attorney relationship.
Let's suppose that a school attorney were to formally represent a school board member on a speeding ticket case. If the attorney lost the case, the school board member might influence other members not to renew the attorney's contract, causing him to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in school district fees. Conversely, if the attorney successfully represented the school board member in a million dollar civil action, the litigant might place undue influence on fellow board members to renew the attorney's contract.
Any situation with the potential to influence the outcome of a school board vote should be avoided. I have spoken to many people regarding this issue and they all applaud my position. I guess it depends on your audience and point of view. This is not about ethics, it's about common sense dictates that a sitting school board member should not enter into a client relationship with the school attorney, on a private matter. The school board should adopt the suggested "Code of Conduct" without further delay.
Thomas J. Walsh