Author and school volunteer named to Ethics Commission

What had been an acrimonious fight over a seat on a commission that had not met in nearly two years ended with a unanimous vote Monday as the Town Council approved First Selectman Vicki Tesoro’s nomination of award-winning author and business writer Charles Slack to fill a vacancy on the Ethics Commission.

Charles Slack

Former commissioner William Brown, whose term expired last year but who remained on the panel pending a replacement, resigned from the commission last month after Tesoro’s first nominee, Quinnipiac professor and former 134th District state House of Representatives candidate Sujata Gadjar-Wilcox, was rejected in a party-line vote.

Slack is a Harvard graduate and volunteer judge for the Trumbull High “We The People” team. He has written four non-fiction books, including Liberty’s First Crisis, about the Sedition Act of 1798. The Sedition Act essentially made criticizing the government a crime. It was allowed to expire in 1800.

Slack has also won a 2005 Connecticut State Book Award for Biography for his book, Hetty: The Genius and Madness of America’s First Female Tycoon. His book Noble Obsession was named one of 2002’s 25 Books to Remember by the New York Public Library and Blue Fairways was a finalist for the U.S. Golf Association’s International Book Award.

In addition to writing books, Slack also is a former journalist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Chattanooga Times and was executive director of financial content for Time Inc. Content Solutions.

The Ethics Commission consists of five members and two alternates. Members are appointed by the first selectman and must be approved by a “2/3” vote of the Town Council. The commission has the power to investigate alleged violations of the town Code of Conduct, and impose sanctions if necessary. With Slack’s appointment the commission now consists of lawyers Thomas Lee, Mark Gurevitz and John Wakely (alternate); clergy Lawrence Fullerton and Sami Bal (alternate), Robert Miller and Slack.

The commission meets on an ad-hoc basis when there is an alleged breach of conduct. The commission has not met since June 2017, according to the town website, and has held 17 meetings in the past five years.