We Have One Of These?

07Jul09

Ethics Commission? What ethics commission?

Stratford ethics panel pushes anti-nepotism rule
By Richard Weizel
Staff writer
Updated: 07/07/2009 05:49:21 PM EDT

STRATFORD — The Ethics Commission will recommend a sweeping new anti-nepotism policy to the Town Council that would prohibit hiring “immediate family members” of top town, education and elected officials, despite a negative recommendation from Town Attorney Richard Buturla, who insists the policy would violate state law.

Can you imagine that the Police Chief’s brother would be against prohibiting nepotism?

While the commission approved the policy last September as part of an updated ethics code, the Town Council tabled the panel’s recommendation because Buturla had several objections, including the anti-nepotism policy.

The commission, however, which met Monday night with Town Councilman Gavin Forrester, D-3, chairman of the Ordinance Committee, and Council Chairman Mike Henrick, R-10, rejected Buturla’s opinion and indicated it will forward the new code including the anti-nepotism policy.

Buturla has advised the Ethics Commission not to include its proposed ant-nepotism policy in the updated code.

“Our research reveals the nepotism provision is violative of state law,” Buturla states in an Oct. 27, 2008, memo to the commission. “No person shall be denied the equal protection of the law and not be subjected to segregation or discrimination in the exercise of employment of his or her civil or political rights because of religion, race, color, ancestry, national origin, sex or physical or mental disability,” Buturla quotes state statute.

But Ethics Commission Chairwoman Susan Birge said the panel strongly disagrees with Buturla.

Doesn’t everyone? Except Miron.

“The Ethics Commission does not agree with the town attorney’s interpretation of ancestry,” Birge states in a May 12 memo to Buturla and Mayor James R. Miron. “Ancestry does not apply to one’s immediate relation.” Birge said Tuesday that with recent controversies regarding municipal hiring practices, “We believe this is very important to raise the bar in Stratford on the issue of conflict of interest. This is about integrity and the public trust.”

Forrester and Henrick agreed. “Ancestry has nothing to do with nepotism, I don’t see that connection,” said Forrester.

Err…Gavin? There’s a lot of connections you may have missed.

Henrick cited the recent controversy surrounding the hiring of Police Officer Justin LoSchiavo in 2006, despite a history of seizure disorder, while his father Joseph LoSchiavo was a lieutenant in the department and his mother, Linda, was the Human Resources Department assistant. “An anti-nepotism policy is more important than ever before,” he said.

Now that the horse has raced out of the barn.

Under the proposed policy, “immediate family members” of the mayor, chief administrative officer, Town Council members, employees in the Human Resources Department and Board of Education central office, and elected school board members may not be hired by the town. Immediate family members under the policy would include a spouse, domestic partner, children, stepchildren, step-parents, siblings and stepsiblings, grandparents and grandchildren. The policy will be presented to the Ordinance Committee in late July, and to the full council in August.

Ho hum….

Wake me up when some outside investigatory agency looks into Stratford’s hiring and business practices.

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8 Responses to “We Have One Of These?”

  1. 1 phineast

    you have to file a complaint in order to have it investigated….did you file one?
    george, did you? just like the fbi if they receive enough complaints or maybe even a petition they will eventually have to do something.

  2. 2 1george1

    When the Ethics Commission first started, I filed 7 complaints.
    They centered around various lawyers and ranking police.

    Father Kopka stepped on them. I intentionally filed them late Friday
    afternoon, with a meeting Monday. There was ZERO TIME for FOI
    Compliance. They were squashed that Monday, anyway.

  3. 3 jezebel282

    Phin,

    The short answer is “yes”.

    In fact, the complaint related to Justin Loschiavo and the treatment of the officer who was injured while covering for him.

    “Unfounded”

    How many actions have there been by the “Ethics” Commission? Ever?

  4. 4 1george1

    My post # 2 was longer, detailing conflicts of interest
    of every “original” Ethics Commissioner.

    Sue Birge works for “FAIRFIELD” Univ.
    Berchem is on Board of Directors.
    Sue is known to be friends of Burturla & Berchem.
    The Birge and Goodrich families are related.
    I like Eddie. Nothing against Sue.

    Robert Chaloux properly had to recuse himself related to Burturla
    counter complaint field by Fredette, who could have ended
    Burturla’s career and pre-empted Pension problems.
    Burturla’s daughter worked for Chaloux’s Day Care Center.
    Ethically, how could he even apply for Ethics Commission with that
    level of Conflict of Interest?
    Chaloux worked for GE Corp HQ, in …. “FAIRFIELD”

    Alternate Ethics Commissioner Mrs. DeRose was a member of RTM
    of FAIRFIELD.
    She and Dick Miron were talking about old times at the Elevator
    after a MEETING. Turned out they were lifetime friends and she
    was his HS Guidance Councilor.
    Ethically, how could she even apply for Ethics Commission with that
    level of Conflict of Interest?

    Milt McDonald applied to DICK MIRON, not the Town council, to be
    on the Ethics Commission?????
    Milt’s son teaches at West Point.
    Milt created Chamber of Commerce of “FAIRIELD”

    4 of 8 Ethics Commissioners were from FAIRFIELD.
    Town my Dad was harassed in USPO
    Town my I and others were harassed in USPS
    Town hired Barnhart to run Economic Development for $ 90,000 a year
    and he was quoted in the newspaper, he knew nothing about economic
    development. At least he was Truthful on that

    – Others > Michael DeJoseph – Norwalk assist Prosecutor, when Bridgeport
    Prosecutors worked with mossman – I had 17 COURT DATES – Appeared 11-12.
    the others were just moved around.

    James O’Sullivan – State Department – War College – serve in Belgium
    congo in early 1960s, WHEN CIA was actively intervening

    Debra Gilbert Taylor – worked for Sterling House – Chamber Commerce
    – Regional business council and more that appear to have politics?

    Father Kopka – already noted that I believe he was blackmailed due to
    need to protect parishioners who had family behind IRON CURTAIN and
    have family in the USA, who may or may not have had GREEN CARD.
    – He apologized to me.
    – I withdrew a 12/1984 curse from including him and his family.

  5. 5 1george1

    I believe latest Ethics publicity thing is blather.

  6. 6 1george1

    See post just made and # 4 above = related

  7. 7 jezebel282

    Raise your hand if you are surprised.

    No one?

    Update:

    Stratford council tables new ethics code
    By Richard Weizel
    STAFF WRITER
    Updated: 08/11/2009 12:44:16 AM EDT

    STRATFORD — The Town Council is still not ready to vote on a tougher ethics code that would include a more stringent nepotism policy and possibly a financial disclosure requirement for elected and town officials.

    After lengthy discussion Monday night about the proposed ordinance, which was submitted by the Ethics Commission, the council decided to table the revised code until at least the end of the month in order to study it further.

    The council earlier this month stripped a financial-disclosure clause from revisions proposed to the code. The ethics panel has proposed a compromise that would still require annual financial disclosure by elected officials, department heads and those holding policy-making positions, but would not mandate financial disclosure by immediate family members that was previously included.

    “We have provided you with rationale and arguments to include areas such as nepotism and annual financial disclosure, and at this point you have struck the annual disclosure statement we believe should be included,” Ethics Commission Chairwoman Susan Birge told the council. “We ask that you not throw the baby out with the bath water — consider our compromise that public officials and departments heads acknowledge what property they own, where they work and what businesses they have association with, and where their income comes from.

    “It was brought up by members of this council that including nepotism regulations and requiring annual financial disclosure would prohibit the town from getting ‘good people’ to run for office to be public servants. Well, if these good people won’t tell citizens what real estate property they own and where they are employed and have business interests and prefer to keep that information secret — I don’t think we want them anyway.”

    Birge added: “We ask you to be bold — to raise the bar for ethical conduct in the town of Stratford — and leave a good, solid ethics code as part of this council’s legacy.”

    But council members, Mayor James R. Miron and some residents complained the ethics policy still needed some changes before being enacted. Town Council Majority Leader Michael Julian, R-1, said there are some parts of the proposal involving political campaign contribution that “some may have already violated under this new policy” and recommended the new code take effect Jan. 1, 2010, “after the new council has been seated.”

    The council voted to approve the recommendation, but Miron said that change could have an appearance of impropriety.

    “I don’t believe that was the intent of Mr. Julian’s amendment, but everyone knows the election is in November and whatever new ethics code is adopted should go into effect as usual, 30 days after it is approved,” Miron said.

    Council Minority Leader Alvin O’Neal, D-2, said he wondered if the new Ethics code, no matter how tough, made any sense because the commission doesn’t have any power to enact penalties.

    Birge, however, said all local ethics panels are set up as “recommending bodies” that conduct investigations and submit recommendations to the council and mayor, which have the authority to take punitive action.

    Some residents said they believed the proposed new policy was too tough.

    “Before there was a mayoral form of government, there was never all this concern about nepotism and conflicts of interest, even though everybody knew it sometimes happened,” said longtime resident Walter Rimkunas.

    But Town Council Chairman Michael Henrick, R-10, said he took “strong exception to any suggestion” the council had engaged in those activities during his seven years on the panel.

    “The Ethics Commission has worked hard and done a terrific job putting this new code together, but I don’t believe as volunteers we should have to disclose our personal financial information,” Henrick said. “And I don’t believe that means we shouldn’t be permitted to serve.”

  8. 8 1george1

    They shot themselves in the foot, again!

    Weisel was handed my information / position directly contradictory
    to Walter Rimkunis. Ignored again….

    They way Walter phrased it, does not make him or the Mayor or the
    Council look good. It was as though he was accepting ….

    The CT. POST is already taking heat for anti-Stratford positioning.

    Interesting neither the Post Reporter or Letters to the Editor indicate
    I even exist. Meanwhile, the Star and the Bard in the past …..
    I have coverage.

    People come up to me and tell me I am the only one making sense,
    from what they read in the star (and bard in the past).

    People come to me and tell me they piece things together that they
    did not realize was connected, because of the blog …

    I am curious if you bloggers thinks Henrick makes himself look like
    as big a fool as Miron or bigger?

    He constantly contradicts himself or sabotages his positions, within
    the same paragraphs ….

    I honestly think Henrick subconsciously wants to say / do right, but
    tries to make it appear politically correct.
    He has made some of the most honest assessments, by accident…


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