Last week, a resident from one of the towns next to mine (Wallingford, CT) called me
for advice regarding his request for an advisory opinion. The
request involved the appropriateness of council members affiliated
with a church participating in a matter that involved funding for
renovation of a wall along the church's parking lot. This is a difficult conflict situation, but some town officials made it much more complicated than it had to be. Not only did
the ethics board, mayor, and council show a lack of understanding of
government ethics, but sadly, none of them seemed to want to gain an
When the matter involving the church’s wall first came before the
council, the resident asked council members affiliated with the
church to seek an advisory opinion on whether they had a conflict.
When they failed to do so, he asked the ethics board for an advisory
opinion. The ethics board said it had no authority to provide an
advisory opinion to a citizen. The resident went to the corporation
counsel, who suggested that the council members seek an advisory
opinion. The council members did not do so.