GOP: Bad Vibes From Ethics Complaint, McCarthy Reports Council Exonerated

UPDATE: Bridgeport City Council President Tom McCarthy says an ethics complaint brought by Republican Town Chair Marc Delmonico regarding passes for council members to the annual Gathering of the Vibes has been dismissed by the city’s Ethics commission.

Delmonico had not received official word from the city’s Ethics Commission when he issued a statement today about its status. Big Marc says accepting benefits from the festival promoter whose contract the council must approve violates ethics and city charter regulations. The Ethics Commission apparently sees it different, according to McCarthy who says the festival access allows the council to assess the event’s future viability and several members show up for a short period of time. Council members may also bring along a companion. The city’s Ethics Commission, for the most part, has flown way under the radar since its creation 25 years ago. Investigations are conducted in confidence. McCarthy notified OIB of the decision when he read Delmonico’s statement. I’ve not heard from an Ethics Commission source, but McCarthy told OIB his position was validated by the Ethics Commission. Delmonico statement below before decision was known.

BRIDGEPORT REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN MARC DELMONICO RAISES CONCERNS OVER ETHICS COMPLAINT PROCESS

BRIDGEPORT – Today, Marc Delmonico, Chairman of the Bridgeport Republican Party, raised concerns with the effectiveness of the ethics commissions and the ethics complaint process. In the first week of August, Delmonico filed an ethics complaint against the City Council and in particular, Council President Tom McCarthy, for accepting free VIP packages for themselves and friends from the operators of the Gathering of the Vibes festival, with whom the city has a contract to hold an annual music festival. After four months, there has been no indication as to the result or status of the investigation by the ethics commission.

“Obviously we want the ethics commission to take the time to do its due diligence to arrive at the appropriate decision regarding this complaint, but four months should be plenty of time to reach a decision in this matter. This was a clear violation of the City Charter and it’s not like the people the complaint was made against aren’t easily accessible. If there’s a question of elected officials in Bridgeport violating the Charter that they are sworn to uphold, the people of Bridgeport deserve a swift resolution to the matter.”

Delmonico acknowledged that it’s tough to know what might be the cause of the delay, because it is a very confidential process. However, he still urged Mayor Finch and members of the Ethics Commission to review their procedure to ensure ethics in Bridgeport can be vigorously defended.

“It wouldn’t be appropriate to place blame on any of the parties involved in this complaint process because the truth is this is rightly a very confidential process aimed to protect the parties involved, so I can’t really be sure what’s causing the delay. I certainly respect the need for confidentiality. I have very dear friends, whom I highly respect and whom have devoted countless hours helping Bridgeport, on the Ethics Commission. But somewhere along the way this investigation is being held up and taking way too long. It sends a very poor message to people in this city about the recourse against unethical actions in our city government that could discourage them from coming forth with complaints in the future. That’s why I’m asking Mayor Finch and the members of the Ethics Commission to look into the matter. Whether it is from a lack of resources, lack of power and authority from the Charter, or just an inefficient process, we need a responsive ethics complaint process in this city.”

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6 comments

  1. *** Almost 4 months & still no decision by the city ethics committee, that figures! Most city committees are useless, have expired members or lack a quorum to meet, no? *** FORGETABOUTIT ***

  2. Have meeting dates and times even been posted for the Ethics Commission in the last four months to know if they even met? You realize this is going to go nowhere.

  3. The ethics commission is a JOKE. I think only one of them has a term that is still in force. Does anyone really expect these hand-picked stooges to vote against the council and the mayor?
    McCarthy is full of it, these council people received passes that were in excess of $400 in value. Hey Tom just what were you going to critique?
    Do you or any members of the council have expertise in crowd control?
    Are any of you experts in sanitary conditions and requirements?
    Are any of you experts in dope? (Tom I didn’t ask if you were dopes.)
    Tom you people are experts in spending the taxpayers’ money; you are experts in the art of bullshitting as illustrated by your reasoning for the free passes. As usual more wrongdoing swept under the rug. That is if we still have a rug and it wasn’t sold by the council.

  4. The Vibes tickets are small potatoes compared to other unethical and illegal things that are going on in city hall. People need to fight for their rights. What happened in the Comptrollers office? What’s going on with the recent layoffs? I hear there are a few backdoor negotiations going on to save certain connected and protected individuals. Last ones in, first one out should be the motto.

  5. What’s the problem about Ethics Commissions and ethical behavior in Bridgeport?
    1. The understanding of many members of the public about unethical behavior would call for a higher standard than is allowed in the language of their charges to our current Commissioners as a basis for their decision making. So, if you as a citizen is frustrated, just imagine how frustrated they are! Perhaps, a public group will invite the Ethics Commission for a public meeting to understand their process, the standards of behavior under which they work, and also the reporting process that allows the complainant no answer while others in the City understand that the complaint had no merit.
    2. Perhaps this year’s Vibes focus should be on how much money the City should receive net of all expenses for the use of the Park rather than how many intangible benefits Bridgeport or certain charities receive.
    3. The performance of the entire Common Council as a body is uninspiring at best, i.e. they did no heavy lifting relative to the budget this past year. Was that because their Budget Committee and its leadership found no reason to challenge or question the assumptions of the budget with the $8 Million (work still needs to be done) revenue item?
    Well if a Committee reviews the Vibes 2011 contract, why are they not the “oversight” group automatically, requested to be present on one or more nights for several hours of observation of all activities that were found to be objectionable in the past? And certainly a ‘companion’ referenced in that general way would be a distraction to their oversight activities. Focus and feedback to the community at large is what should be expected. Instead we have behavior and BS that begs for change and does nothing to assure citizens that serious self-serving and wrongdoing are part of the package.
    Some of you have heard me reference THE HONOR CODE: How Moral Revolutions Happen by Kwame Anthony Appiah a Princeton professor published in September 2010. Honor, the status of an individual deserving and receiving respect comes from competence and integrity. Now there are two words searching for public-service candidates in Bridgeport leadership. Whom do you see as providing competence and integrity? Whom would you honor for their achievements as an elected or appointed City official? Something to consider for 2011 elections …

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