Yonkers mayor orders background checks for appointees

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YONKERS – Calling for greater government transparency, the mayor on Tuesday called for mandatory background checks for potential appointees to city boards and commissions.

Candidates for these bodies, Mayor Mike Spano said, should be subject to the same “rigorous checks and balances” as city employees. The city personnel department will conduct the investigations.

In an executive order signed Tuesday, the mayor also called for the city’s website to begin featuring online applications and a registry of open positions on these bodies.

“I am committed to utilizing digital resources such as the Yonkers website to bring our government to the people in an accessible and transparent way,” Spano said in a statement.

His announcement follows the dramatic conclusion of the corruption trial of former Councilwoman Sandy Annabi and former GOP boss Zehy Jereis, who were found guilty Thursday of federal conspiracy, bribery and extortion charges.

In the wake of the trial, the mayor — whose brother, former state Sen. Nicholas Spano, pleaded guilty in February to federal tax-evasion charges — has also noted his efforts to beef up the city’s ethics code. Those include appointing three new ethics board members and requiring all city department employees to take annual ethics training.

As part of the online registry, the mayor’s office said it will post all information relating to mayoral board appointments, including board members, their terms, expired terms and current vacancies.

Billed as the first of its kind in Yonkers, the repository will also describe the duties of board membership and will provide instructions for the online application process.

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  1. This is supposed to be an innovative idea? Background checks? Call a press conference.