I’m going to give the Warren County Republicans the benefit of a doubt and call it a glimmer of hope.

Michael Grasso, its chairman since 2006 and the instigator of a string of emails looking for a way to defeat an incumbent Republican who wouldn’t vote the way Grasso wanted on the Queensbury Town Board, was re-elected as its chairman last Thursday.

But there was a catch.

It was decided a new executive committee was needed to assist him with his leadership duties.

You could reasonably conclude the Republicans wanted someone to hold Grasso accountable for future actions, although Grasso said it was at his request.

It is clear there are many active Republicans who didn’t like the dirty tricks leading up to last fall’s primary and general election that led to Queensbury Republicans — Brian Clements and Rachel Seeber — being defeated after they refused to condemn the dirty politics.

Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty and former supervisor and budget officer Nick Caimano were two prominent Republicans who called on Grasso to resign. Many other Republicans anonymously told Post-Star reporter Kathleen Moore they were not happy with Grasso’s actions.

I’m hoping the new executive committee can make a difference, although that may depend on who is on the committee, and if it actually has any sway with the chairman.

Its first action should be to address an ethics policy that is woefully inadequate.

Where the Warren County Republican Committee rules and regulations spell out nine instances of “disloyalty” that can get you thrown out of the party, it has just two short sections on its ethics policy, addressing conflicts of interest.

It really isn’t much of an ethics policy at all.

Grasso wrote in an email Wednesday that the executive committee will be reviewing the bylaws, including the ethics section.

That’s good news if it takes it seriously.

After a Republican power play last year to oust the law firm representing the town of Queensbury in favor of another law firm with closer ties to the local Republican Party, there is a desperate need for reform.

When I called on all political parties to adopt an ethics policy earlier this year, three parties responded it was a good idea and either had one or said they would be working on one.

Grasso said the Republicans had one, too, just not much of one.

I can’t emphasize this enough. Warren County’s Republicans have a rare opportunity to make an enormous difference in how politics is conducted in our region. They can set policy that will be the standard not only in the county but around the state, with the potential of restoring faith in political parties.

Such policy could lead to more discussion of the issues, less negative campaigning and, most of all, a better quality of candidate who is willing to serve the people and not a party, because they wouldn’t have to participate in dirty politics to win.

What an amazing concept.

Grasso could redeem himself by taking up the issue himself and leading the way by doing the right thing.

He still has time.

We need local leaders to guide us through difficult times. We need to know those leaders will act in our best interests and do the right thing all the time.

The election in Queensbury was an issue of morality and whether the candidates would do the right thing.

That’s why Clements and Seeber lost.

They refused to condemn the Republicans for doing the wrong thing and the voters saw that.

The first step toward restoring that faith is an ethics policy that addresses right and wrong and emphasizes community service over party loyalty while conducting political business transparently for the good of all citizens.

Ken Tingley is the editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at tingley@poststar.com. His blog, “The Front Page,” discusses issues about newspapers and journalism. You can also follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kentingley.



Ken Tingley is Editor of The Post-Star in Glens Falls, N.Y. and writes a regular blog called "The Front Page."

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