Ed Day won’t take wedding gifts from county contractors

Rockland County Executive Ed Day, whose wedding is set for April 30, will not accept wedding gifts from county contractors.

Day made his statement late Friday afternoon, following a Tax Watch column that raised questions about the propriety of accepting wedding gifts from individuals who have a financial interest in county government.

On Thursday, Day’s chief of staff said that a county contractor was invited to the wedding, but declined to say whether Day would accept a gift from the contractor. 

“In keeping with the Rockland County Code of Ethics, I will not be accepting gifts from any person, firm or corporation who directly or indirectly has business or professional dealings with the County,” said Day, a New City Republican in his third term. “Ms. Pascucci and I have gone out of our way while planning this wedding to avoid any ethical questions and will continue to do so. I am proud of my record as County Executive and look forward to continuing serving the people of Rockland with my beautiful bride by my side.”

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Mark Davies, a Tarrytown attorney who is one of the state’s foremost authorities on municipal ethics, had raised questions about possible gifts from a county contractor who Day’s chief of staff said was invited the wedding.

Davies applauded Day’s statement on not accepting gifts from county contractors.  

“He did the right thing,” Davies said. “And the media did its job to draw attention to the issue.”

The column reported on the online registry for the wedding of Day to Somers attorney Donna Pascucci. The honeymoon.com registry provided different levels of giving – between $200 and $500 – for guests who wanted to help fund their honeymoon at the Sandals resort in the Caribbean island of Grenada.

The registry, which was set up for Pascucci’s bridal shower, has remained active since then, though wedding guests were not informed of the registry in the invitations sent to 275 for the April 30 wedding at the Pearl River Hilton.

The Tax Watch column attracted hundreds of comments on numerous Facebook pages. By mid-afternoon on Saturday, the lohud Facebook page had 494 comments.

Friends of the couple disparaging the column said that Day and Pascucci were like other couples getting married in 2022, with online cash gifts through wedding registries as one way to show one’s affection for the newlyweds.

Others, however, noted that Day needed to heed the county’s ethics code, which had no exceptions for wedding gifts in its prohibition on the acceptance of gifts exceeding $25 from county contractors by Rockland employees such as Day.

According to the online registry, Day and Pascucci received two gifts since the column’s publication – $400 for spa treatments for two, and $200 to defray the cost of their airline tickets to Grenada.

Follow Tax Watch columnist David McKay Wilson on Facebook or Twitter @davidmckaywils1. He has written about Hudson Valley public affairs since 1986. Check out his latest columns at lohud.com