According to, Town Administrator Mark Purple an ethics complaint filed against former Selectman John Rooney has been denied. Purple informed the public at the September 5th Board of Selectmen Meeting.
[Editor’s Note: Sorry for the delay in reporting it. I just finally got around to watching that section of the meeting today!]
The complaint had been filed by Attorney Gary S. Brackett. Brackett alleged that both John Rooney and Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf had violated ethical standards and Open Meeting Laws in their handling of items related to Park Central, Flagg Road safety, and petitions requesting that Leo Bartolini be removed from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
In an earlier filing, Brackett also complained about Bartolini’s handling of conflicts of interest around Park Central.
According to Purple, the Attorney General’s office notified him that the claim that Rooney conducted “improper deliberation” was denied. I followed up with him to find out if a ruling had been issued on Phaneuf. He responded that he had yet to hear on Phaneuf or Bartolini. But, he noted that if the AG decides not to render a decision, “we may never hear.”
Back in March when the complaint was filed, Rooney took public offense at both the accusation and insinuations that it was a factor in a decision to announce he would be stepping down from the board the following year. In a passionate speech, he announced he was resigning immediately. (Thus, the Special Election coming up this November.)
Phaneuf also emotionally defended her actions as having been in an effort to represent the public’s best interest.
Other selectmen questioned Brackett on who he represented in filing the complaint. The attorney claimed to represent all of the residents who signed a petition seeking to oust Zoning Board of Appeals member Leo Bartolini last year. (On the blog, some residents who had signed the petition objected to that claim.)
Angered by the accusations against Rooney and Phaneuf, fellow board members characterized the residents “hiding behind” Brackett for anonymity as cowardly. There was also a strong public showing of support for the selectmen by many on the blog and at public meetings.
After Purple’s announcement this month, Chair Dan Kolenda took the opportunity to again thank Rooney for his service.
Rooney is currently serving on the Public Safety Building Committee and the Golf Course Committee. Phaneuf continues to serve on the Board of Selectmen and Bartolini on the ZBA.