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For more details on a specific meeting, see the Meeting Minutes.

 

The Ethics Commission held its 6th meeting of 2015 on April 28, 2015.     

The Commission took the following actions:

Issued Advisory Opinion 2015-21 to Erin Dube, a member of the Pawtucket School Committee, opining that she is generally prohibited by the Code of Ethics from participating in any School Committee matters in which her sister-in-law is a party or participant, or in which she will be financially impacted.  The Commission also opined that the Petitioner is prohibited by the Code of Ethics: from participating in contract negotiations with the Teachers’ Union, given her sister-in-law’s membership in that union; and from participating in any budget line items that address or affect the employment, compensation or benefits of her sister-in-law.  However, the Petitioner may participate in the School Committee’s discussion and decision making relative to approving or rejecting the entire budget or the Teachers’ Union contract as a whole. 

Issued Advisory Opinion 2015-22 to Lisa A. DiBello, a former member of the Charlestown Town Council, opining that she may apply to the Town of Charlestown to be employed as its Director of Parks & Recreation, because the unique facts represented therein support the application of the exception to Commission Regulation 36-14-5014’s revolving door restrictions.

Continued the Advisory Opinion for Michele H. Kazarian, Esq., to its next scheduled meeting.     

Continued the Advisory Opinion for Robert Kempenaar, II, to its next scheduled meeting. 

In the matter of In re: Dawson T. Hodgson, Complaint No. 2014-14, voted (6-1) to find that probable cause does not exist to believe that the Respondent, a former State Senator and candidate for Attorney General of Rhode Island, violated R.I. Gen. Laws §36-14-16 either by his failure to disclose his one-third ownership interest in real property located in Slocum, Rhode Island on his 2012 Financial Disclosure Statement or by his failure to disclose executive positions that he held in Sodco, Inc., on his 2011 and 2012 Financial Disclosure Statements. The complaint was dismissed with prejudice. 

Unanimously voted to initially determine that the facts alleged in In re: Joseph J. Nicholson, Complaint No. 2015-1, if true, are sufficient to constitute a knowing and willful violation of the Code of Ethics and authorized an investigation.

Unanimously voted to initially determine that the facts alleged in In re: Joseph J. Nicholson, Complaint No. 2015-2, if true, are sufficient to constitute a knowing and willful violation of the Code of Ethics and authorized an investigation.

 

The Ethics Commission held its 5th meeting of 2015 on April 14, 2015.     

The Commission took the following actions:

Issued Advisory Opinion 2015-16 to Christine J. Engustian, Esq., the former Probate Judge for the City of East Providence, opining that she is not prohibited by the Code of Ethics from representing clients before the East Providence Probate Court and the East Providence City Council within one year following the date of her official severance from the East Providence Probate Court.   

Issued Advisory Opinion 2015-17 to Maria Lawler, the Treasurer for the Town of Exeter, opining that she is not prohibited by the Code of Ethics from accepting an offer from the Exeter Town Council that would expand her role as Treasurer from that of a part-time to a full-time position, with an associated increase in salary commensurate with the expansion of her duties. 

Issued Advisory Opinion 2015-18 to Jon M. Restivo, Esq., a member of the Foster Town Council, opining that he qualifies for a hardship exception to the Code of Ethics’ prohibition on representing himself before boards over which the Foster Town Council has appointing authority, the Foster Zoning Board and the Foster Planning Board, in order to establish a residential compound on the property of his personal residence. 

Issued Advisory Opinion 2015-19 to James V. Silvestri, a member of the Westerly Town Council, opining that he is not prohibited by the Code of Ethics from participating in Town Council matters involving his customers, because such business transactions for the purchase of auto parts, in the ordinary course of business, do not rise to the level of a business associate relationship as that term is defined in the Code of Ethics.  However, he is required by the Code of Ethics to recuse from participating in any budgetary line items that relate to the maintenance of any Town vehicles. 

Issued Advisory Opinion 2015-20 to Daniel P. McKiernan, a legislator serving in the Rhode Island House of Representatives, opining that he is not prohibited by the Code of Ethics from entering into a law partnership with attorneys who are registered lobbyists.  Beyond that, pursuant to the Rhode Island Supreme Court’s decision in Irons v. Rhode Island Ethics Commission, 973 A.2d 1124 (R.I. 2009), the Ethics Commission is prohibited from questioning or regulating the Petitioner’s legislative acts that may impact himself, his new law firm, its partners or their lobbying clients.

Continued the Advisory Opinion for Michele H. Kazarian, Esq., to its next scheduled meeting.     

In the matter of In re: Eunice D. DeLaHoz, Complaint No. NF2014-1, unanimously voted to find that probable cause exists to believe that the Respondent violated R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-16 by failing to timely file a 2013 Financial Disclosure Statement with the Ethics Commission.

 

The Ethics Commission held its 4th meeting of 2015 on March 24, 2015.     

The Commission took the following actions:

Issued Advisory Opinion 2015-13 to Steven A. Stycos, a member of the Cranston City Council, opining that he is not prohibited by the Code of Ethics from accepting a gift from the daughter of a former Cranston City Council member. 

Issued Advisory Opinion 2015-14 to Marjorie McBride, a member of the Bristol Warren Regional School Committee, who is also an alternate member of the Bristol Juvenile Hearing Board, opining that she is not prohibited by the Code of Ethics from simultaneously serving in both positions.    

Issued Advisory Opinion 2015-15 to Gena E. Bianco, a member of the Johnston School Committee, opining that she is not prohibited by the Code of Ethics from participating in contract negotiations with the Johnston Teachers’ Union, notwithstanding that her spouse has served, for the past four years, as a soccer coach for one of Johnston’s Middle Schools and may serve again in the future.  However, the Petitioner is required by the Code of Ethics to recuse from all School Committee discussions and votes relative to her spouse’s appointment as the Middle School’s soccer coach and any budgetary line item(s) involving coaching stipends. 

Continued the Advisory Opinion for Michele H. Kazarian, Esq., to its next scheduled meeting.   

In the matter of In re: Dawson T. Hodgson, Complaint No. 2014-14, unanimously voted to grant the Respondent’s request for a continuance of the Probable Cause Hearing, which will be continued to a date no later than the Commission’s first scheduled meeting in May, 2015. 

In the matter of In re: Natalia Rosa-Sosa, Complaint No. NF2014-3, unanimously voted to find that probable cause exists to believe that the Respondent violated R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-16 by failing to timely file a 2013 Financial Disclosure Statement with the Ethics Commission.

Continued In re: Eunice D. DeLaHoz, Complaint No. NF2014-1, to its next scheduled meeting. 

In the matter of In re: Barbara A. Heavers, Complaint No. 2014-19, unanimously voted to grant the Prosecution’s Motion to Dismiss, whereupon the complaint was dismissed with prejudice.

Unanimously voted to approve a Second Extension of Time in the matter of In re: Paul Rodrigues, Complaint No. 2014-8. 

Unanimously voted to approve a First Extension of Time in the matter of In re: Daniel P. Reilly, Complaint No. 2014-18.