Ann Krane: 'Board of Ethics Approves Nepotism in Oxford'

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[Editor's note: The following is a statement from Oxford resident Ann Krane.]

The Oxford Board of Ethics thinks nepotism among the elected officials and employees of the town is perfectly ok.

On January 28, the Oxford Board of Ethics met in executive session to hear my complaint concerning an alleged violation of the Code of Ethics. My complaint was in regard to the hiring of the son of the director of public works at the Dec 18 meeting of the Board of Selectmen. The son was hired  to work under the direct supervision of his father (nepotism).

The Board of Ethics said in its public minutes of the meeting that there was no basis to substantiate my complaint. They said I had not presented evidence of ethical violations.

What more evidence does the board need to show the conflict of interest, the family tie and the obvious nepotism. The Board of Selectmen, First Selectman and Director of Public Works all approved the hiring of the director’s son to work as a direct report to his father.

When a father’s son is hired to work for him, how can that not be preferential treatment and a violation of the Code of Ethics? The son should have been deemed ineligible to even apply for the job. 

Section 5.2.2 of the Code of Ethics says “officials and employees shall not offer or render preferential treatment to others on the basis of such factors as family ties, financial interests, friendship or political considerations.”

Section 5.2.5 says, ”officials and employees shall not engage in any business or transaction or have an interest, direct or indirect, which is incompatible with the proper discharge of the their official duties in the public interest..." 

The Board of Ethics is established to protect the best interests and the integrity of the town and to make sure that officials and employees comport themselves in a professional and ethical manner. This Board is supposed to be neutral and “above politics”.

Not this Board. Here, in Oxford, we have a Board of Ethics that thinks nepotism and the abuse of power is perfectly ok.

What a disservice to the residents of the town. This board has failed to carry out its responsibility to the residents of Oxford and the abuse of power goes on. Unfortunately, there is no appeal to this decision either. 

The Board has said in its infinite wisdom that the Code needs to be reviewed. Perhaps it’s the ethical conduct of the Board that needs to be reviewed.
Bonnie February 12, 2014 at 07:27 PM
Great Kathy!! We shall chat soon! Perhaps once this snow storm is finished!! We shall have our own dinner party!! :)
kathy johnson February 12, 2014 at 07:27 PM
John Plane ,only the Town committee can vote and nominate officers. As I said any Democrat can lobby the members of the ODTC and if a member makes a motion to nominate and another member seconds the motion and a majority of the members agree the person is elected. It has to be filed with the town clerk and the state central committee. If you are a non member you can not vote. I am not sure it would fly but there are some that suggest that the way Krane filed the complaint against the BOS and Wayne Wyatt could be considered unethical.
kathy johnson February 12, 2014 at 07:31 PM
Sounds great. I retired last year so I have lots of time on my hands.
John Plane February 12, 2014 at 08:53 PM
thanks Kathy, have a great night.
kathy johnson February 13, 2014 at 08:48 AM
John , oops. thanks i will be more careful next time. Have a nice day.


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