After three years of canceled board meetings, Shelton’s Board of Ethics met for the first time Thursday, Oct. 13 since the Aldermen assigned three candidates to fill its vacant spots back in September.
Thomas McGorty (R), William “Bill” McCart (unaffiliated), and Dr. Jeff Forte (D) are the three candidates chosen to complete the city’s Board of Ethics. The pre existing board members include Ken Olin (R) and Frank Carrol (D).
Former Planning and Zoning Commissioner McGorty was nominated act as the Board Chairman and Olin was nominated to act as the board’s Vice Chairman during Thursday’s organizational meeting.
Carrol wasn’t present for the meeting, but the present members voted to keep the board meetings on schedule for once every three months. Their first meeting will be Jan. 5, 2017.
Mayor Mark Lauretti’s Administrative Assistant John Bashar was the Ethics Board Chairman back in 2013 when the Board last met and was present at the meeting to help ease the new members through the transition onto this new board.
With so much time in between now and the last time the city’s Ethics Board met, all of the members were curious to know what would be their immediate responsibilities. Bashar told the board that there were no pre existing complaints for the members to make a decision on.
Board member’s responsibilities
According to the city ordinance a board member’s responsibilities are described as:
The board of ethics shall create and set “reasonable rules and regulations” for the administration of its proceedings. That set of rules and regulations must be made available at city hall in the clerk’s office to any elector of the city.
From there, any complaint of violations to the board’s set of rules will be investigated by the board members or with the help of the police department.
Any complaint received by the board of ethics must be in writing and signed by the individual making the complaint. This board of ethics then issues a written reply to the complaint. When the board is made aware of the violation in question, they privately notify the person the complaint was filed against.
“Upon receipt of the notice from the board of ethics, the party so notified that a complaint has been filed against him shall have a right to demand a public or private hearing by the board of ethics. In the event that the board of ethics decides that a hearing is required or the person whose conduct is being called into question demands a hearing, the hearing shall afford the person whose conduct is called into question the right to cross-examine anyone testifying against him or meet or answer any complaint of his conduct, and to present evidence in his own behalf. No hearing, however, may be conducted with less than two members of the board of ethics in attendance.”
The city ordinance also says if the board receives complaints against any officer, employee or official of the city, the investigation and disposition of which has been delegated to other boards or commissions created by the Charter.
“The board or commission to which such complaints are forwarded shall thereafter notify the board of ethics of the disposition made of such complaint, and the board of ethics shall review the disposition.”
The board of ethics ultimately reports to the board of aldermen its findings as to whether or not a violation of this article has occurred and together they come to a decision. All opinions, rulings, and recommendations of the board of ethics, whether advisory or the result of a complaint, shall be kept on file.
This article may be amended only by ordinance in conformity with the provisions of the Charter. Should any provision of this article conflict with any provisions of federal law or the state general statutes then the provisions of the federal law or the state general statutes shall prevail.
Bashar said when he was Chairman the board was in the process of revising the city ordinance and implementing training/seminars for city officials to better educated them on conflicts of interest and other matters that would cause a need for the Board of Ethics to get involved.
He added that the city will look to fill the vacant position of clerk for the Board of Ethics before its Jan. 5 meeting.