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LaFave public integrity case may be resolved by Joint Commission on Public Ethics

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A Brownville man accused by the state inspector general of lying on time sheets to bilk thousands of taxpayer dollars appears still to be under investigation by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics.

Glenn A. LaFave, former executive director of the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District, served from 2005 to August 2010. He resigned from the state authority just before the announcement of the report, which alleges he manipulated vacation time to increase paychecks to the tune of $14,000. The report also accused the agency’s board of turning a blind eye to policy loopholes that allowed the payouts.

The authority controls the flow of water on the Hudson and Black rivers from numerous upstate dams and reservoirs.

John P. Milgram, spokesman for the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, could not officially confirm or deny whether the agency is actively investigating Mr. LaFave’s case because the agency is bound by confidentiality agreements. But the agency is familiar with the case, he said, and will publicly announce the result of any ongoing investigations if it occurs. The lapse of time since the agency received the case, however, does not suggest the case has been dropped by its investigation’s unit.

“The commission is not bound by timing for any investigation,” Mr. Milgram said. “You follow cases where they lead, and the timing doesn’t mean one thing or the other.”

Any fines issued by the agency, he said, will “depend on the section of state law, nature of the violation and evidence.”

The inspector general’s report on Mr. LaFave originally was referred to the Commission on Public Integrity in July 2011. That agency was discontinued the following August by the governor’s office, and the JCPE was launched to take its place in December. The defunct agency forwarded ongoing cases to the JCPE, including Mr. LaFave’s.

Michael A. Clark, executive director of the authority, said it has not received any update from the inspector general since 2011 about Mr. LaFave’s case. But he did say the authority’s board has taken several steps to address other problems identified with the report.

“The policy changes have been particularly targeted around some of the things the inspector general’s report highlighted,” Mr. Clark said. “Guidelines were changed in our policy handbook that center around leave time, which was really in response to the case. The board is now very sensitive and aware of these issues.”

Another issue underscored by the report was that the authority continued to provide vehicles to staff members after the state imposed new restrictions in 2009.

“We adopted the state vehicle-use policy and no longer assign vehicles to staff members,” Mr. Clark said.

A former elementary school teacher, Mr. LaFave originally was appointed as a board member to the authority by former Gov. George E. Pataki in 2000. Mr. LaFave did not return a call seeking comment Friday.

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