Ethics Commission dismisses complaint

TRUMBULL — The Ethics Commission has dismissed the first of two complaints that it was reviewing following a Dec. 17 meeting in which members interviewed a single town official.

The status of the second complaint is unclear, although the commission did cancel a Saturday meeting in which the second complaint, 2-2019, was on the agenda.

At its most recent meeting, the commission members convened in executive session to discuss complaint 1-2019. First Selectman Vicki Tesoro met with the commissioners, accompanied by attorney and Town Treasurer Anthony Musto, from 4:01 p.m. to 4:55 p.m., according to the meeting minutes.

After Tesoro and Musto left the session, the commissioners discussed the issue for a few minutes before reconvening a public meeting. The group then unanimously voted to dismiss the complaint for lack of probable cause.

The nature of complaint 1-2019 is confidential, and the details may never become public.

The commission meets in private to review complaints, and only upon finding probable cause do the complaints become public. Alternately, the subject of a complaint can choose to make the proceedings public, according to Musto. In this case, the complaint appears to have named two people since Commissioner Mark Gurevitz made a motion to dismiss the complaint “with respect to both respondents, for lack of probable cause.”

What is known is that the commission, which had not met since June 2017 because of a lack of complaints, met five times between Oct. 12 and Dec. 17.

Former First Selectman Tim Herbst was one of four individuals to meet with the commission at its Nov. 25 meeting, where complaint 1-2019 was discussed. The commission also interviewed Finance Director Maria Pires, Labor Relations Director Jim Haselkamp and Board of Finance Chairman Elaine Hammers.

Of the four, Herbst is the only one who is not currently a town elected official or employee. The Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over town employees, contractors and public officials who are currently associated with the town or whose standing with the town has ended within the past year.

At the commission’s Dec. 13 meeting, the members interviewed Attorney Christopher M. Mattei, a former U.S. Attorney who made an unsuccessful run for Attorney General in 2018, losing to William Tong in a Democratic primary.