Ethics Commission to hear complaint against Trumbull councilman who demanded ‘payback’
TRUMBULL — The ethics complaint against town council member Tony Scinto (R-2nd District) will go before the Ethics Commission in a public hearing Monday. The meeting, streamed on Zoom, begins at 7 p.m.
Scinto, who is also a member of the 2020 Redistricting Committee, said he was seeking “payback” against volunteer mapmaker Richard White over a perceived slight dating back a decade at the committee’s video-conferenced May 9 meeting.
White, in his ethics complaint, said Scinto had violated Section 2-524 and 2-526 in the town’s Code of Ethics. Specifically, White said Scinto had failed to discharge his duties conscientiously and impartially, and he had failed to treat a member of the public with tact and courtesy.
The incident occurred as the committee was discussing a voting map that White, a Geographic Information System (GIS) professional with 27 years experience and a member of the town’s Land Acquisition Committee, had prepared using U.S. Census data. Scinto had stated his opinion that the map was flawed.
“Listen, I could really get into this map, and really cause a lot of trouble because this map is atrocious,” he said during the May 9 meeting.
Fellow committee member Tom Kelly objected to Scinto’s characterization, saying the map had been prepared by “highly skilled people” using scientific data. Scinto in reply singled out White, who had drawn the map, saying he had “been waiting a long time for payback on this one.” Scinto went on to say, “This guy’s no good for the town. He’s nothing but a hack. I’ve had enough of this guy.”
The animosity appears to stem from a 2010 GIS flood hazard map that White had prepared for the town. Scinto claimed the map showed the Pequonnock River misleadingly close to his house. The street Scinto lives on dead-ends at the river and his house is second from the end.
According to the online Trumbull GIS map, Scinto’s house sits in a Flood Hazard Zone, and is about 20 feet from the edge of the Pequonnock’s high-risk AE Zone, which FEMA defines as having at least a 25 percent risk of flooding during a typical 30-year mortgage.
Scinto characterized the map as showing the river “next to” his house, and said it had caused confusion with his insurance policy.
White in his complaint has requested Scinto’s comments be removed from the meeting’s video and minutes, and that Scinto apologize and retract his comments.
“All of Mr. Scinto’s comments and claims about me, my work and the volunteer work that I have done for the town of Trumbull are false and without merit,” he said.
Though he has said he should have chosen his words more carefully, Scinto stands by the substance of his comments.
The Ethics Commission may issue a decision following the hearing. As Scinto is not a town employee, the commission cannot recommend any disciplinary measures, but could issue a reprimand.