No Matter How Small
Over the past few weeks, a dedicated group of Deep River residents has been collecting petition signatures. The purpose of the petition is simple: Will Deep River join more than 130 Connecticut towns (including our neighbors) in establishing a Code of Ethics for elected officials, commission members, employees, contractors and consultants? More than 250 signatures were collected in a show of support and the question was certified by Deep River Town Clerk Amy Winchell for inclusion on the November ballot.
A “Yes” vote will allow registered voters to elect a five-member ethics commission that will then establish a code of ethics. A group of residents has already put together a draft based on the code in Essex. It was written with input from the State Ethics Commission and reviewed by legal counsel. If the question passes, it will give the commission a good head start.
Some have incorrectly argued that the commission will be used to attack the innocent and that our small town doesn’t need a code of ethics. Well-written codes make provisions for privacy as the commission has the authority to judge the merit of complaints out of public view. Those involved in town business deserve guidelines, no matter how small the town, while residents deserve a way to ensure that those guidelines are followed.
I encourage your readers to vote “Yes” on this question on election day. We all deserve to know that everyone plays by the same rules and that everyone knows what the rules are.