MERIDEN — The Board of Ethics is asking the City Council to create a bi-partisan ad hoc committee to consider revising the city’s Code of Ethics.
The letter requesting the committee was initially slated to go before the City Council earlier this month, however, it was taken off the agenda because of concerns that a recent board meeting had not been properly noticed. The Board of Ethics voted to issue the letter on Tuesday.
While the board has not met publicly to consider an ethics complaint in several years, Board of Ethics Chairman Joseph Galotti recently condemned the City Council minority caucus for attempting to censure Democrat Miguel Castro for an alleged ethics violation. It is unclear if a complaint was levied against Castro because all matters before the board are confidential unless probable cause is found. There are currently no matters of public record before the board, Galotti said.
The situation with Castro did not prompt the board’s request for the committee, Galotti said.
“It really just has to do with our overall experience with the code in general, not in regard to any specific matter or set of facts at all,” Galotti said. “It’s not as user-friendly as we’d prefer it to be, it’s as simple as that.”
Commissioner Dan Daly said the code has not had any major revisions since 1995.
“There hasn’t a been a good hard look at it in a long time,” Daly said. "It was nothing in the last couple months that prompted anything.”
Daly suggested the committee examine the way complaints are processed and areas of the code dealing with conflicts of interest. He proposed four to six members, with representatives from the ethics board and City Council.
Updating the Code of Ethics could be a good idea, Corporation Counsel Michael Quinn said, citing technological advancements since its inception.
“At the time that it was written, electronic communications were in their infancy and social media hadn't really been invented, and those are clearly two things that have an impact on public officials and how things are handled, so I think it’s appropriate,” Quinn said.