Thursday, April 15, 2010

Allentown Ethics Board Makes Mockery of Ethics

April 19 UpDate: "Allentown Ethics Board Makes Mockery of Ethics" has been honored as the most influential per post blog in Pennsylvania this week. LVS was similarly honored last week. Thank you, LVS readers.

On Apr 14, 2010, at 4:40:01 PM, J. Jackson Eaton, III wrote:

RE: Board of Ethics of the City of Allentown

Dear Mr. Villa:

As a member of the Board of Ethics of the City of Allentown, I am writing to you on behalf of the Board concerning your e-mail sent to Committee [sic] members on April 6, 2010 with a complaint regarding a City official and request for a hearing under the City’s Code of Ethics.

The Board met to consider certain procedural issues (Mr. Velasquez [sic] was unable to participate). [BV Note: M.I.A. "Ethics" board member and former Allentown City Council person Marty Velazquez's parents lived across the street from my parents for over a decade.]

First, digital communications have advanced a long way since the time the Code of Ethics was adopted, but Section 171.10(F) dealing with requests still provides in part that, "In no case shall the Board entertain a request that is not in writing and not signed by the person making the request." Accordingly, the Board must ask that you submit your request again signed by you. [BV Note: this "signed hard copy" thing is a chicken shit maneuver designed to slow me up and buy the "Ethics" board some time. Notice that it's okay for Mr. Eaton to send me an email, i.e., not "signed hard copy."]

The Board also notes that under the provisions of the City Code establishing the Board of Ethics, individuals a [sic] submitting a request or complaint do not have the right to demand a hearing. [BV Note: My submission was a "Request" for a Hearing. I made no "demands."] See: Related Post

The Code provides that "The Board shall also render written advisory opinions in circumstances where there is alleged to be a conflict of interest or unethical conduct on the part of any official or employee of the City within the scope of the Code of Ethics." Section 171.09(E).

It is the employee or official against whom the complaint is made that has the option to request a hearing:

"Employer or official involved in the request shall have the opportunity within fifteen (15) days after receipt of the request to respond in writing, to make a written request for a hearing or to do both... The Board shall upon receipt of a request for a hearing within the period above referred to by the official or employee involved set a time and place for the hearing for the purposes of determining the facts." Sections 171.09(H) and (I).

[BV Note: everybody catching this ... "it is the employee or official against whom the complaint is made that has the option to request a hearing," that is, only the accused city insider can request and get a hearing. The injured party? "Get help" elsewhere.]

The Board will, of course, respond to whatever request you make, [BV Note: Oh I'm sure, and I believe I can predict your "response" right now] but wanted to make you aware of these provisions of the Code of Ethics as it [sic] may affect the information you wish to provide in any future request. For your convenience, a copy of the Code of Ethics is attached.

Finally, in response to the Board’s acknowledgment of your filing, you raised the question of a possible conflict because a son of one of my partners was the driver of the vehicle in which your daughter was killed several years ago. First, personally and as a father, let me express my sympathy to you because of this tragic event. However, I do not believe that such event which involved Mr. LaBarre’s son or the other circumstances surrounding the event would affect any decisions I would make in considering the substance of any further complaint you may file or otherwise would prevent a conflict. [BV Note: I agree totally w/ your Freudian slip, JJ, that nothing will "prevent" your blatant conflict of interest here. And, re: the "other circumstances surrounding the event," readers, I need to point out that it was Attorney Eaton, and not I, who brought these "other circumstances" up, in the context of "not preventing" a conflict of interest. Interesting, eh?]

After discussing your e-mail with the Board, and with their concurrence, have [sic] determined that I will continue to participate in this matter as a member of the Board. [BV Note: Well sure, the "Ethics" board wants JJ Eaton as their hatchet man on this b/c the other members are too pusillanimous to take me on. Heck, Marty Velazquez was too scared to even attend the procedural "fix" meeting.]

Sincerely, [BV Note: you're not fooling me, JJ.]


JJE,III/dm cc:

Mayor Edward [sic] Pawlowski

Mr. Michael Hanlon, City Clerk
Dr. Rev. Grant Harrity
Mr. Hugh J. Gallagher
Mr. Martin Velazquez, III

The Rev. Canon Maria Tjeltveit

On Apr 14, 2010, at 9:31:27 PM, The Rev. Canon Maria Tjeltveit wrote:


I think the letter looks good. There?s one small thing that is probably a mistake in the second to the last sentence. You say that you do not believe that the events "would prevent a conflict". I believe you mean "would present a conflict". It may be that you want to clarify that in some way, given what may be sensitivity on the part of the recipient of the letter. -Maria [BV Note: "sensitivity?" Right. Most people just shrug off accusations of necrophilia w/ their deceased daughter (as published by Allentown City Council Vice President Michael Donovan at his blog), Maria, I must be over-reacting.]

((Me ... and apparently I was "cc'd" by Rev. Canon Maria by mistake on her email to JJ Eaton, Allentown Ethics Board, Mayor Edwin Pawlowski, and City Clerk Mike Hanlon))

Ethics Board, do me a favor:

please don't "cc" me on your internal procedural maneuverings all designed to achieve one thing-- i.e., avoiding having to address my legitimate issues with W. Michael Donovan, okay? It's insulting. Ditto any charade regarding "sensitivity" towards me. That's almost laughable.

FYI, you will be addressing my legitimate issues with Donovan via my re-submitted, in writing, and signed, document, with supporting evidence. Look for it within the next few days.

And do your crony-crooked maneuverings in private like how they're supposed to be done.

Bill Villa