Ethics Commission Meeting December 21, 2010
At the 20th meeting of the Commission in 2010, the Commission issued the following advisory opinions:
A.O. 2010-54 to Steven M. Costantino, a legislator serving in the Rhode Island House of Representatives, opining that the Code of Ethics did not prohibit him from accepting an appointment by the Governor of Rhode Island to serve in the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services.
A.O. 2010-55 to Wallace Gernt, a member of the Rhode Island Health Services Council (“HSC”), opining that his membership on the HSC did not conflict with his private consulting work for the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center, Inc. (“TCS”), relative to its application to the Department of Health (“DOH”) for registration as a Medical Marijuana Compassion Center, given that the HCS has no involvement whatsoever with the DOH’s decision-making on that issue.
A.O. 2010-56 to Vincent F. Ragosta, Jr., a member of the East Greenwich Personnel Board, opining that the Code of Ethics did not prohibit him from representing the Town of East Greenwich, in his private capacity as an attorney, in Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights proceedings against an East Greenwich police officer.
A.O. 2010-57 to Gary P. Cote, Chairman of the Coventry Fire District Board of Directors, who is also a member of the Coventry Town Council, opining that the Code of Ethics did not place any restrictions on his ability to serve as both an elected member of the Town Council and as an elected member of the Coventry Fire District Board of Directors.
A.O. 2010-58 to Samuel D. Zurier, Esq., a member-elect of the Providence City Council, opining that the Code of Ethics did not prohibit him from continuing his pre-existing legal representation to the Providence Water Supply Board in a pending litigation matter, provided that he recuses from participating in certain City Council discussions and voting.
A.O. 2010-59 to Robert Coulter, a Tiverton Town Council member, opining that the Code of Ethics did not prohibit him from taking part in Town Council discussions and voting relative to litigation, taxation and personnel issues, notwithstanding his prior involvement in tax appeals and litigation against the Town and certain of its officials.
A.O. 2010-60 to Dawson Hodgson, a member-elect of the Rhode Island Senate, opining that the Code of Ethics did not prohibit him from continuing to serve as a member of the North Kingstown Harbor Management Commission, a municipal appointed position.
The Commission approved an Informal Resolution in the case of In re: Vincent J. Polisena, Complaint No. 2010-10. The Respondent, a member of the Zoning Board for the Town of North Providence, admitted to multiple violations of the Code of Ethics relating to his company entering into contracts with the Town of North Providence. The Commission imposed a civil penalty of eight thousand five hundred dollars ($8,500).
The Commission approved a tentative meeting schedule for calendar year 2011.