SARATOGA SPRINGS -- History unfolded in the Spa City Tuesday night, as the Saratoga Springs City Council censured Mayor Joanne Yepsen.
Three council members voted pass the resolution, claiming Yepsen violated the city's ethics code.
The issue started because of a plan involving Saratoga Hospital. The hospital wanted to expand, and needed the city's approval.
At the same time, the council argues the mayor was looking for work as a consultant with the hospital's foundation.
“It kind of sent up a red flag," said Skip Scirocco, the city’s commissioner of public works. Scirocco pushed for the censure.
"The ethics board made a determination that she was in violation of the city's ethics code, and the city council had to make a decision on what do we do next," he explained.
Mayor Yepsen denies she did anything wrong.
"I do respectfully disagree with [the ethics board], and so do my attorneys," she exclaimed.
Yepsen says talks with the hospital’s foundation were preliminary. She went to the same ethics board for an opinion. Shortly after, she recused herself from a vote on the project as a precaution.
"I had a relationship with [Saratoga hospital] because I served on their board for 9 years. They were looking for some grant writing help, and clearly we were not proceeding with any money exchange. No contract, no agreement,” Mayor Yepsen explained.
The hospital's expansion failed because it didn't get enough votes.
The mayor, herself a part-time employee, calls this latest move ‘political malpractice.’ She tells CBS 6 she’s worried about the impact of the ethics board's decision.
"It affects every employee in the city, and mostly affected will the part-time and volunteers. So it will be very difficult--near impossible--for many people to serve the city under this advisory opinion,” Yepsen continued.
The mayor is calling for adjustments to the city's ethics code—a code she helped retool shortly after taking office as mayor.
As part of the censure, the council wants to get the opinion of the New York Attorney General’s office and JCOPE, the state's Joint Commission on Public Ethics..