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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mageau's lecture on "intellectual dishonesty"

Did you read Jim Mageau’s 700-word rant in yesterday’s Westerly Sun (2/26/11, p. 4)? The Sun’s pay wall doesn’t allow me to give you a link to his op-ed so I’ll describe what I think he said. He repeatedly called the Town Council guilty of “intellectual dishonesty.”

I’m not sure why. Mageau seems to think the Council was dishonest for asking the state Ethics Commission to rule whether Counselor Lisa DiBello can participate in matters where her charges of discrimination and wrongful discharge against town administrator William DiLibero and the town might cause a conflict of interest.
Regardless of the merits, it looked pretty bad when DiLibero fired her last spring. DiLibero seemed to have lost his temper and threw proper procedure out the window. He could very well have opened up the town to liability, as Mageau has claimed. But there are specific legal remedies to address her issues.

When Lisa ran for Council, she was asked if she planned any pay-back if elected. Did she have any axes to grind? Did she plan to take action against the town? No, no, no, she said. That was furthest from her mind. “I'm running,” she said, “because ‘I care.’” I did not notice her wink when she said that.

So she got elected. Show of hands, please. Would you still vote for her, knowing she did indeed plan to stick it both to the town and her enemies for the nasty way she was fired?

She has a right to seek redress for her claims of discrimination and wrongful discharge. But it’s a fair question whether it is ethical for her to take part in council actions involving any respondents or defendants in her legal actions. She should choose between being a litigant against the town or a town counselor focused on the town’s well-being.