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.”