Toothless Tiger Ethics Commission Gums David Walker’s Ethics Complaint

From Brian Lockhart, CT Post:

Shhhhhh. Can you keep a secret?

I’m not supposed to know this under city statutes, but Wednesday, Bridgeport’s Ethics Commission took up the conflict-of-interest complaint ex-U.S. Comptroller General David Walker filed last week against City Council President Tom McCarthy, D-133.

Walker thinks McCarthy has a conflict-of-interest serving on the council and working in the city’s labor office.

Read more:



  1. This article does not make sense. My complaint did not challenge McCarthy’s right to be on the Council despite the related Charter language. Rather, it addressed the fact McCarthy has violated other provisions of the City Charter and the City’s Ethics Ordinance. How can this Commission punt on that? Do we have to go to Court to seek justice?

    1. Dave Walker, come on man, get real, do you really think your letters and op-eds are going to change anything in Bridgeport? You have been here over three years now and if you just do a little research you will see the only real changes happen from lawsuits in Bridgeport.

    2. Dave,
      I will guess you have seen matters tabled for a variety of reasons over the years. What if those present understand the complaint as presented? What if they, as practitioners of ethical behavior, wanted to avoid a conflicted appearance yet wished to have some legal representation aside from the “usual suspects?” What if they needed to figure out the WHO, WHEN and HOW parts of that activity? Would they need some time? Is it possible this is what has happened? What if they were reaching out to an independent legal source as we are speculating? What a concept, eh? Like Sergeant Schultz (and many others), “I know nothing!! Nothing!! Nothing!!” But I do have fun speculating about people helping the City heal. Time will tell.

  2. Ethics
    Seven members, all residents & electors of city
    All members nominated by Mayor, confirmed by the City Council
    No candidate can be an office-holder or political activist
    Terms of two years
    Members serve until a successor is appointed and has qualified.
    Meet 2nd Wednesday of the month
    Click here to visit their website
    Mary Donnelly (D)
    53 Reading Place
    Bridgeport, CT 06604
    Term Expires: 12/31/2009

    Robert Filotei (R)
    155 Brewster Street, Apt. 5C
    Bridgeport, CT 06605
    Term Expires: 12/31/2009

    Steve McKensie (R)
    72 Granfield Avenue
    Bridgeport, CT 06610
    Term Expires: 12/31/2014

    Harry Weichsel (U)
    64 Janet Circle
    Bridgeport, CT 06606
    Term Expires 12/31/2009

  3. Mustang Sally,
    We need to get the facts and find out what happened. As the person who filed the complaint, the Commission should communicate with me at some point. The fact the Commission only has four of seven members and three of those have expired terms is just one more example of Mayor Finch’s failure to do his job. Let me assure you, CW4BB has just begun to fight and we will fight on many fronts. Join the fight to create a better Bridgeport.

    1. Not everything can be blamed on this Mayor or his administration. The fact the ethics commission, and many more, are under-represented has been an issue for at least the last 20 years.

      1. Hector,
        I agree, not everything can be blamed on Mayor Finch and his Administration. However, Finch has been Mayor for over five years and under the City Charter he is responsible and accountable for making appointments to such Commissions. He also took at oath to abide by the City Charter. He is failing to do so in many regards. This is just one example.

  4. Commissioners serving in expired terms are in a very tenuous position. If they vote against a mayoral or council issue they may not get reappointed. Where is the objectivity in that? The fourth appointment gave them the ability to have a quorum but if someone has to abstain the quorum is lost.

    1. Hector, et al.,
      Maintaining appointees to Boards and Commissions in expired positions does allow the administration to exert undue influence to have their way. That is a fact of life in Bridgeport and has been for some time. So people of integrity, who have trained for their duties and have formed an opinion adverse to a current administration have on more than one occasion been replaced. Had they been reappointed or dropped at the time of the expiry, their independence and viewpoint would have been more accountable to the public rather than to the appointing Mayor.

      The number of positions that are open or vacant has increased. It puts pressure on attendance by the remaining members, and that can delay or needlessly impede meeting schedules and work of members on behalf of the public.

      The other technique I have heard reported is Mayor Finch in some appointments has asked for a letter of resignation to be provided to the Mayor (along with acceptance of the appointment?). Perhaps the Mayor will have Elaine Ficarra share the reason for this requirement and tell us how long this has been in use, and how many appointees are affected. Procedures in governance are important to attend to. “Checks and balance” in this case may be renamed “choke and blunder.” Time will tell.

  5. JML, I understand the need and importance of maintaining a current Board of Commissioners. I also believe the Commissioners should represent the populace in gender and ethnicity. I’d like to hear Mr. Walker’s thoughts on that. In every level of Government the Commissioners represent the thoughts of citizens, but serve at the behest of the leader, i.e. President, Governor, Mayor. They are asked to be placed on those commissions because they are thought to be of “like” mind.

  6. Hector,
    Have the Mayors in the past 20 years met your expectations of gender and ethnicity? Have those who have served received orientation about the nature of their tasks and support in getting training or education to allow them to advance and serve better? (Of course those would be reasons to re-appoint them after evaluating their service.) Should a Mayor, who has the appointment authority per the Charter, look to any other qualifications like experience, training or demonstrated interest in making such appointments? Should there be any time or term limits on such service (where practically we have none currently)? I’d like to hear your thoughts on that, please? Time will tell.


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