Schooling the Ignorant and Historically Challenged

For those Salisbury residents ignorant of the well-documented historical facts leading to the adoption of an official town Code of Ethics, allow me to explain and give credit where it is undoubtedly due. This may be a traumatic revelation for Barbara Maltby, Salisbury’s resident Ethicist, since she entered into the COE process halfway through it and then tried to pretend that she knew what was going on. Her lack of information and understanding was glaringly apparent in her recent Letter to the Editor in the Lakeville Journal.

During the 2011 election campaign, BOS candidate Mark Lauretano promised to bring the issue of a Code of Ethics to a town vote. He did not promise it would pass, but he promised to bring it to a vote.

At the December 2011 BOS meeting, newly elected selectman Mark Lauretano made a motion that the 2005 Val Bernadoni COE be the town COE, applicable to all. He even was open to some previously suggested revisions perhaps being incorporated into it. Curtis Rand and Jim Dresser refused to bring it forward to a town vote, saying it should only apply to the BOS. They did, however, agree to allow Mark Lauretano to explore and develop a COE proposal for the town.

Mark Lauretano devoted months to research and, working openly with the citizens and town employees to fashion a COE that included Mr. Dresser’s required enforcement arm. Mr. Rand and Mr. Dresser steadfastly refused to participate in the drafting process.

A year later, when it appeared that there was a finished product being brought to a town vote, Messrs. Vail and Morrill suddenly trotted out Val Bernadoni’s 2005 COE that Lauretano had originally suggested be used for the official town COE! For some reason, Rand and Dresser suddenly thought this was a brilliant new idea never heard of before.

Wanting as many citizens as possible to participate in the democratic process, Mark Lauretano obtained enough signatures on a petition to bring the COE issue to a town referendum vote instead of simply a town meeting vote. Both COE proposals and a separate Ethics Commission proposal were placed on the ballot. The Ethics Commission section had been separated from the original draft so the voters could decide separately whether or not they wanted to have any enforcement arm with a COE. Despite the concerted efforts of the Democratic Party leaders in town to defeat all the proposals with No votes, the people of Salisbury did pass the 2005 Bernadoni COE.

For anyone to claim that Mark Lauretano was not the driving force behind there finally being a vote for a town Code of Ethics, along with the passage of one, is laughable. It is irrelevant which COE was passed, but very ironic that the one we have today is the Bernadoni COE Lauretano originally proposed. What matters is that the issue was brought to a vote as he promised, and happily, the people of Salisbury voted in favor of one. It is a good thing for the town.

The whole eighteen month ordeal could have been avoided if Rand and Dresser had cooperated with Mark Lauretano and seen to it the original 2005 Bernadoni COE had been enacted in the first place. Their partisan obstructionism was the problem, not Selectman Mark Lauretano.


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