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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ethics is about more than just money

"CCA: Kill Bill": Action film or documentary?

Tomorrow night, Town Administrator Bill DiLibero’s fate will be decided by not one but two people who, in a just universe, would be ethically barred from voting.

By Linda Felaco

The Westerly Sun reported today that on Tuesday, the RI Ethics Commission ruled that Lisa DiBello can vote to fire Town Administrator Bill DiLibero at tomorrow night’s special town council session on his job performance. DiBello, for those who’ve been hiding under a rock, is suing DiLibero and numerous and sundry other individuals over her firing as Parks and Recreation director in 2010. The Ethics Commission decided it was “ethical” for DiBello to vote on DiLibero’s firing because “her participation in the Town Council’s consideration of the Town Administrator’s recent job performance is not likely to result in a direct financial impact upon the petitioner or her Superior Court lawsuit.”

Apparently, anything goes ethics-wise as long as no money changes hands. 

On what planet is it “ethical” to be able to vote to fire someone whom you’re already suing for firing you? On the planet Tit-for-Tat? As if DiBello won’t make hay over DiLibero’s firing in her $1.5 million lawsuit.

For the record, American Heritage Dictionary defines ethics as follows:
ethics (used with a sing. verb) The study of the general nature of morals and of the specific moral choices to be made by a person; moral philosophy. 

ethics (used with a sing. or pl. verb) The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession: medical ethics.
I don’t see the word “money” in there anywhere; do you? What does it take for something to be considered an ethical violation? Apparently, it only becomes a violation if a sitting council member were to actually vote to cut herself a check for $1.5 million taxpayer dollars as part of her own lawsuit. Yep, that one was blatant enough to make the Ethics Commission stand up and say no. But it would seem that anything short of that is just hunky-dory.

If, on the other hand, ethics is only about money, then Dan Slattery should be barred from voting on DiLibero’s fate. Surely a job involves money. On what planet do you get to vote to fire the person who was hired for a job you applied for? Certainly not one I’ve ever lived on. But this is what passes for ethics in Bizarro Charlestown.

[Cue Walsh]

“Forget it, Linda, it’s Charlestown.”