KINGSTON – Four members of the Kingston Common Council, including its president and majority leader, Friday called on State Attorney General Letitia James to investigate “potentially inappropriate and perhaps even illegal behavior by Mayor Noble and Ms. Noble in their roles as Kingston City officials.”
Steven Noble is the city’s top elected official and his wife, Julie Noble, is the city’s environmental education and sustainability coordinator.
The request for a state investigation came from Council President Andrea Shaut, Majority Leader and Third Ward Alderman Reynolds Scott-Childress, First Ward Alderman Jeffrey Ventura-Morell, and Fourth Ward Alderwoman Rita Worthington.
In a news release distributed after the close of business on Friday, the four officials said they have “received reports from multiple sources that require us, by out duty as elected officials, to investigate the matter.”
They did not provide details of their concerns.
The council members said that typically in local government, a concern like this would be addressed by the municipality’s board of ethics, but since all of the members were appointed by Noble, it would create a conflict of interest in this case.
“An investigation by the attorney general, a disinterested authority, is the ideal pathway to learn if in fact violations of our ethics code or the law have occurred,” they wrote in a joint statement. “And if no wrongdoing is found through an investigation, it is best to staunch the flow of rumors in order for our government to move forward to best serve our constituents and our community.”
They noted the city charter gives them the “authority and responsibility to investigate the affairs of every department or agency of the municipal government and inquire into the official conduct of every officer and employee therein.” They also said they hold “a fiduciary responsibility to the city we serve” as elected officials. “During these dire financial times, stressed by the pandemic, we are obligated to protect Kingston’s financial well-being.”
The officials said they hope their “concerns can be resolved without great disruption to the smooth functioning of city government. But public officials most be above ethical reproach. And a good government is one that provides a strong system of checks and balances between the executive and legislative branches in an effort to protect the public interest.”
The Nobles have not released any statements concerning the call for an investigation.