The Board of Ethics held a meeting Thursday January 7, 2010 in the Old Court Room of the Edmond Town Hall located at 45 South Main Street Newtown, CT. 06482. Vice chairman Brian Ochs called the meeting to order at 7:00p.m.
Present: Vice Chairman Brian Ochs, Ronald Wilcox, Neal DeYoung, Suzanne Copp, Stephen Sedensky and Addie Sandler.
Also Present: Ms. Diane Guilfoil of 3 Pomperaug Road Sandy Hook, Ms. Debbie Aurelia of Copper Creek Circle Newtown, Mr. & Mrs. John Aurelia of Castle Hill Road Newtown, Mr. Robert Hall of Nettleton Avenue Newtown, Ms. Denise Buckley of Bears Hill Road Newtown, Mr. Shanley of Poverty Hollow Road Newtown, And one member of the press.
Approval of Minutes:
Ms. Copp moved to approve the minutes of December 3, 2009 as submitted. All were in favor.
Election of Officers:
Mr. Sedensky moved to nominate Mr. Ochs as the Chairman. Ms. Copp seconded motion. All were in favor.
Mr. Ochs moved to nominate Mr. Sedensky as Vice Chairman. Mr. DeYoung seconded. All were in favor.
Review of second letter received from Ms. Diane Guilfoil
Mr. Ochs read the second letter received from Ms. Guilfoil (See attachment A to original minutes) and the Board reviewed and discussed whether the second letter should be considered as part of original issue or a separate issue.
Mr. Sedensky moved to include the second complaint letter as part of the original complaint letter. Mr. Wilcox seconded. All were in favor.
Statement from Ms. Angelina Carney Guilfoil
Mr. Ochs read the statement submitted by Ms. Guilfoil (see attachment B to original minutes) and the Board discussed whether her statement should be considered during the hearing if she chooses not to show up because then Ms. Debbie Aurelia would be able to cross examine her as a witness.
Mr. Sedensky moved to postpone the decision to decide if Ms. Guilfoil’s statement should be used or not until the night of the hearing to see of she decides to show up.
The Board was in agreement that this decision would be postponed for now.
Letter from Ms. Debbie Aurelia
Mr. Ochs read the letter and the Board reviewed and discussed the letter received from Ms. Aurelia (see attachment C to original minutes).
Mr. DeYoung stated that since the last meeting there has been some additional information received thus answering any questions from the prior meeting. Though there still seems to be some unanswered questions and the reason to have the hearing would be to gather more information from additional witnesses for further investigation, Mr. DeYoung stated that it would be important to hear from the Assistant Town Clerks.
The Board discussed if a full hearing is actually needed at this time or if it should be postponed after more information is received.
Mr. Sedensky addressed the fact that the prior First Selectman addressed the issue directly with Ms. Aurelia the day it happened however both are elected officials and the First Selectman can not do anything to another elected official in terms of punishment.
Mr. Wilcox stated that he would be in favor of moving forward with the hearing due to the fact that everyone will be making their statement at that time.
Mr. Ochs read from the Code of Ethics, code #36-16A pertaining to holding a hearing.
Mr. DeYoung stated that there would be no harm in delaying the hearing to receive more statements from witnesses to answer additional questions and to get a complete record.
Mr. DeYoung moved to adjourn the January 14 hearing and ask for additional statements. Ms. Copp seconded motion.
Mr. Sedensky questioned if that would be putting any of the staff members in an awkward position (to write and submit a statement to the Board). Mr Ochs stated that the purpose of the hearing would be to bring all statements forward.
Ms.Sandler stated that from what she understood of the hearing process, would be to get more information.
Mr. Wilcox stated that by hearing any comments and statements from witnesses in person body language and inflection can be read in addition to what the person is saying.
Mr. DeYoung added that a hearing is a serious proceeding and it should be taken seriously although it also shouldn’t be looked at as a totally negative event either.
All in favor of postponing the hearing date of January 14, 2010; Mr. DeYoung, Ms. Copp. Those not in favor; Mr. Ochs, Mr. Sedensky, Mr. Wilcox, Ms.Sandler.
By majority the motion does not pass. The hearing will be held January 14, 2010 at 6:30p.m.
Ms. Copp stated that if the information that is available now was available then on Dec. 3, the Board may have voted differently to have a full hearing.
Mr. Wilcox stated that the issues are no clearer now than on December 3 because there are still some unanswered questions. The quickest way to get all the information would be at the hearing and if someone decides not to show up then it must not be of the greatest importance to them to begin with.
(There was an additional letter submitted to the Board on behalf of Ms. Debbie Aurelia from the Redding Town Clerk, Michele Grande. The Board dismissed this letter as it was irrelevant to the specific complaint, the Board felt as though anyone can have a letter of recommendation written on their behalf. Also, Ms. Grande was not witness to the incident that occurred on November 10, 2009 referred to in the original complaint letter.)
Review of the hearing process for January 14, 2010:
Mr. Ochs reviewed the process for January 14, 2010 regarding what is to be discussed and who will be questioned. Mr. Ochs stated that the Board can go into Executive Session after the hearing or choose to decide their course of action at a subsequent meeting.
Having no further business, Mr. DeYoung moved to adjourn the Board of Ethics meeting at 8:00p.m. Mr. Sedensky seconded motion. All were in favor.
Cayenne Spremullo, Clerk