Gaffett in violation of two ethics complaintsThird complaint not yet ruled on
First Warden Kim Gaffett has been found in violation of two ethics complaints brought against her by town residents, and will have to pay a $500 fine, according to an Informal Resolution and Settlement approved by the R.I. Ethics Commission this week.
A third complaint lodged by resident Peter Saxon has not yet been ruled on, according to a staff attorney for the Ethics Commission.
The resolution states that Gaffett violated Ethics Commission regulations “by participating in the nomination of her brother-in-law, John Spier, to a position on the Planning Board and further participating in the vote to appoint him to said position, at the January 7, 2013 Town Council meeting.”
The Ethics Commission resolution does not affect John Spier's position on the Planning Board.
Ethics Commission Staff Attorney Jason Gramitt said that the Informal Resolution was an agreement reached between Gaffett and Commission Staff Attorney Nicole DiLibero.
“I should have recused myself… even though there was no monetary gain or loss connected with the position,” said Gaffett at the Block Island Town Council meeting on March 20. “I guess we all make mistakes, and I’m sorry I made a mistake, but we’re going forward.”
The Ethics Commission approved the Informal Resolution at its March 19 meeting.
The two complaints had been filed in January by R. Bruce Montgomery and Arlene Tunney, and claimed that Gaffett violated ethics rules when she took part in the vote to appoint Spier to the town Planning Board.
A third unrelated complaint, brought by Saxon on Feb. 7, stated Gaffett was negotiating a management contract with Block Island Health Services (BIHS) at the same time BIHS secretary Kay Lewis was helping Gaffett with her re-election campaign.
Ethics Commission attorney Gramitt said a ruling on the third complaint has not yet been scheduled.