Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What Ethics?

The Ex-governor of Connecticut, John G. Rowland, is the poster child for corruption and scandal. Removing him did not remove the flawed system nor the majority of criminals still holding official jobs.

An ethics commission in Connecticut, could not act ethically investigation reports of abuse of citizens.

There is no growth of population, nor of business in Connecticut. Many are planning on not moving to Connecticut and others are planning on taking their businesses and bodies out of Connecticut.

So, why does Connecticut’s budget and number of people working for the state steadily increasing?

When there is not enough business and individuals to tax a bureaucracy out of control starts to act as a parasite on humanity, breaking up families, taking away business, assets, cash, and homes on thin, manufactured excuse. Bad behavior is rewarded, good punished.

Connecticut revenue collectors get money in federal tax dollars for taking kids away and putting citizens in prison, guilty or not. If they keep building more and more prisons and detention centers and keep hiring more and more prison guards and the population is stagnant, and crime rates are going down, who are they going to be throwing in prisons?

The answer is: YOU AND ME.

* * * *

From the Hartford Courant:

Ethics Chief: Shaky Start Bycel, Facing Scrutiny, Says `Time To Move On'
January 16, 2006 By JON LENDER, Courant Staff Writer

Last month, Charlotte Koskoff quit her seat on the new Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board because she believed the board was moving too hastily toward hiring a new state ethics director.

On Sunday she said, "I am saddened that some of my fears seemed to have been proven" - referring to a debacle last week in which newly appointed ethics director Benjamin Bycel quickly had to rescind his controversial hiring of a gubernatorial aide for his new Office of State Ethics.

Despite Bycel's impressive resume that includes service as Los Angeles' ethics chief, Koskoff said, "This is troubling."

Though it's too early for a final judgment, "sometimes a resume is more about a person's ability as a self-promoter," said Koskoff, a three-time Democratic nominee for Congress from Plainville.

Such comments by Koskoff and others in recent days indicate that Bycel will now be watched even more carefully in his sensitive new role.

"We want to give him a chance to redeem himself, but at the same time we'll be watching closely the new hires that he makes," said Rep. Christopher Caruso, D-Bridgeport, co-chairman of the legislative committee that oversees Bycel's ethics agency.

Bycel said Sunday night that he is "looking forward to Tuesday morning" when he returns to work after the holiday.

"I was hired to do a job, and I think there was some fair criticism of me last week - that I did stumble."

But, he said, "it's time to move on, it's time to work together, and it's time to allow me to do my job."

Caruso and other legislators had been irked by Bycel's defiance Wednesday after his hiring of Daniel Moreland, aide to the governor's chief of staff, M. Lisa Moody.

The lawmakers said the new Office of State Ethics is too sensitive a spot to plant any political appointee - particularly Moreland, who recently was questioned by criminal investigators focusing on Moody's improper distribution of political fundraiser invitations at the state Capitol.

Bycel first told lawmakers it was none of their business - and only relented after it was revealed Moreland lied on his resume.

Even after dumping Moreland, it took Bycel until Friday to comply with Caruso's demand that he reveal the identity of a "mutual acquaintance" he said told him Moreland might make a capable executive assistant in the ethics office. Bycel said Friday the acquaintance was Gov. M. Jodi Rell's own ethics counsel, Rachel Rubin.

So angry were Caruso and other lawmakers that the good-government group Common Cause spent two days last week making calls to calm them down. For example, they helped broker a Thursday meeting in which Bycel apologized to Caruso.

"We went to the leaders and said to them, `Give the guy a second chance.

As crazy as it seems, he did not comprehend the situation here,'" said Andy Sauer, Common Cause's local director.

The "situation" is that Connecticut has been reeling from ethics scandals such as one that jailed ex-Gov. John G. Rowland. The stress of dealing with the Rowland scandal paralyzed the former State Ethics Commission so badly that legislators abolished it last year, replacing it with the new ethics office and advisory board. Caruso and other leaders wanted no more trouble from the new office - and that's why Sauer moved so fast last week.

"It's important that the new office succeed," Sauer said.

"We need a strong office of ethics."

Whether it succeeds depends partly on whether legislators who created the office are satisfied. Caruso, although satisfied with Bycel's apology, still questioned the salary that Rell-administration personnel officials established for the intended Moreland hiring.

Moreland makes $51,500 a year in the governor's office, where he will stay.

The new job of "ethics program manager," created by Rell-administration personnel officials in consultation with Bycel, has a salary range from $60,951 up to $78,185.

"That's excessive," Caruso said, noting that Bycel had described the job as merely a get-things-done office assistant's job.

"He was never intended to be a policy guy," Bycel said - but the official listing for Moreland's intended job at ethics involved "drafting regulations, policies and procedures."

Bycel said from now on he will "look at every single job description."Caruso said it was "very upsetting that anyone from the governor's office" spoke to Bycel about Moreland's potential transfer.

"I think this is a clear warning for anyone who works for the legislative or executive branch: Keep your hands off the Office of State Ethics," Caruso said.

"It's an independent agency, and needs to be maintained as that."

To comment on this story, or to request a correction click here to send a message to Karen Hunter, The Courant's reader representative. Click here to read Karen's daily Weblog.


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