Following is an update on the Paul Moore Ethics Scandal in Milton. There is so much wrongdoing here on the part of so many people in Milton’s city government, it is a bit overwhelming to process and difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, I have invested a lot of time and effort in my (perhaps quixotic) quest to foster principles of good governance in Milton, such as transparency, accountability, honest, rigor, and fairness. My knowledge and experience allow me to make sense of Milton city government for citizens—to the extent it makes sense, which it sometimes does not . . . at least not to honest and rational citizens. There is much that occurs in city government that is just plain nonsense or worse . . . it only makes sense to dishonest and self-serving politicians (and their lackeys), who regrettably abound in Milton.
Continuing Information Blackout. Unfortunately, the City continues its information blackout about Council Member Paul Moore’s ethics scandal. The City has provided the bare minimum of information to citizens—only what is legally required (e.g., legal notices of ethics hearings at the rear of the Milton Herald and hearing dates/times listed at the city calendar). The city has posted nothing at Facebook or sent any informative emails to citizens. The proceedings have not been publicized in any way. Citizens were not provided an opportunity to watch a live stream of the proceedings. And no videos of the proceedings were recorded and provided for viewing by citizens. No documents have been made available to citizens. And since Mr. Moore’s conviction on 3 ethics violations, the City of Milton has provided no information to citizens, not even notification of the conclusions and recommendations of the ethics panel. In his recent State of the City address, Mayor Jamison uttered not a single word about ethics. The City’s consistent lack of communication with citizens about a serious ethics issue constitutes an egregious (but sadly typical) lack of transparency. It raises serious questions about basic integrity in our city government. The City is deciding what is important for citizens to know, instead of providing citizens with information and letting them decide what is important. To deny citizens important information is to fundamentally undermine democracy and good governance; it is the opposite of the citizen-centric government (that Mayor Jamison touted in his recent State of the City address). The City’s current slanted, PR-driven communications border on Orwellian. Right now, my blog is the only source of objective information in Milton about the Paul Moore ethics scandal and more generally the state of governance and politics in Milton.
Moore’s Ethics Conviction Appeal. Given this information black-out, I suppose nearly all citizens would be surprised to learn that the ethics case against Paul Moore is still active. Paul Moore has filed a suit that names as defendants: Tony Pallazo (the ethics complainant), the City of Milton, and the ethics panel. This means the City will waste even more time and money on this ethics fiasco and will continue to be distracted from more pressing matters. It did not have to be this way . . . keep reading.
Moore’s Ethics Conviction. Make no mistake about it, this ethics scandal and the damage it has done to the city are self-inflicted wounds. For years, the City has turned a blind eye to ethical misconduct. And with the current ethics scandal, City Council and the city administration have made a bad situation much worse through their actions (and sometimes inactions). Recall that on August 30, 2022, Paul Moore was found guilty of not one . . . not two . . . (drumroll) . . . but three ethics charges concerning installation of traffic calming devices (TCDs) in White Columns. He was found guilty by a panel of three attorneys randomly selected from a pool of attorneys vetted by the City, who the City (at the start of the ethics hearing) rightfully asserted are experts in due process. The ethics panel’s conclusions and recommendations follow:
City Council’s Back-Stabs Ethics Panel and Refuses to Uphold Ethics in Milton. So did City Council follow the ethics panel’s recommendation to give Paul Moore “a written censure or reprimand” and publicly announce this action at a regular City Council meeting? Did City Council honor and respect its own ethics process and support its own ethics panel? Did council take advantage of a golden opportunity to declare to citizens its commitment to the highest ethical standards? The answer to all of these questions is an emphatic NO.
Rather Milton City Council rejected the recommendations of the ethics panel, shirking its responsibility to impose punishment. No punishment was imposed. Council stated that with the ethics panel’s finding of guilt in this matter, Mr. Moore (in Mayor Jamison’s words) had been “sufficiently sanctioned.” Inexplicably, Council showed disrespect for its own ethics panel, for the city’s own ethics ordinance, and for ethics generally . . . sending a clear message to citizens that ethics do not matter in Milton.
Council cannot overturn the panel’s finding of guilt. If they could, I believe Council would have overturned Moore’s guilty conviction. Nevertheless, with their failure to impose punishment, council tacitly signaled their disagreement with the panel’s decision. I remind citizens that no member of council is a lawyer. The ethics panel’s decision was well reasoned and the recommended punishment was light, considering the number and nature of Mr. Moore’s ethics violations. The case was the epitome of an open-and-shut case.
Council is standing with Paul Moore against the ethics panel, against high ethical standards, and ultimately against citizens. And if you have any doubt about this, continue reading the blog to learn about further actions recently taken by council to undermine the ethics panel, to assist Paul Moore in his lawsuit, and aid Mr. Moore’s likely future bid for re-election.
My next blog post will recount other city government actions since Mr. Moore’s conviction and place them in the context of city politics. Buckle up and grab your barf bag . . . it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
(For local government junkies, I provide additional commentary and analysis at the Bits and Pieces page at the Blog. Some of these shorter segments are expanded and later published as full blog posts that are disseminated to subscribers. Following is the link to the Bits and Pieces page: https://wordpress.com/page/miltoncoalition.blog/3531 My most recent post is about Mayor Jamison’s recent State of the City speech . . . very disappointing.)
Advocating For Good Governance,
Postscript: I want to be clear that with my blog posts, I am exercising my right to political free speech. I invest much time in research and analysis. I strive to be truthful and base my expressed opinions on facts. Of course, if a reader finds a factual error, I will make appropriate corrections. On rare occasions (less than half a dozen), readers have contacted me about factual errors that I did correct. Of course, my opinions are my opinions, and they may differ from yours. And I am open to publishing opposing opinions that are well-written, logical, and factual. And of course, if you are so inclined, you can start your own blog. Milton would benefit from competing blogs that debate the important issues facing the city . . . but I warn you that a well-done blog requires a lot of work.