Letter: Day Story a Disservice, Ethics Code Lacks Clear Limits

in Letters

Thank you, Frank, for spearheading the Sound View’s Summer Concert series for the past six years.  Please know that as newbies to Old Lyme, we laughed long and hard under the SV night sky kicking up sand, showing our grandchildren (to their embarrassment) that Grandpa and Grandma can still do the boogie woogie, and the twist.  “Oh, What a Night!” One we will not forget (nor will our grandchildren!)

Section L of the Old Lyme Code of Ethics says “No public employee or public official, or a business with which he/she is associated, or a member of his or her immediate family shall enter into a contract with the Town for which the public employee or public official serves which has a value of $1,000 or more unless approved by the First Selectman or by the Board of Selectmen if the First Selectman has a conflict.” 

But it doesn’t state a time parameter. Is that a $1000 maximum per contract, per event, per calendar year, per life time? 

As reported by The Day, $3300 was paid to NSP Productions LLC (Pappalardo’s son’s company) over a six-year period to set up sound/lighting for 5 town productions per year – an average of $110 per event or $550 per year. Conceivably it takes 5-6 hours to set up and breakdown, plus operational support during each event (2 hours minimum).  That’s $13.75 per hour for experienced labor and equipment rental.   Is that the “ethic violation” in question here?

I find it amazing that our town leaders who during those same 6 years (and still today) have had to deal with serious town-defining issues like the expanding education budget, multi-million dollar development proposals, million dollar road and bridge repairs, redefinition of police and emergency services,  and the controversial $10.4 million WPCA sewer project, would discuss, vote on, and be able to recall a discussion or lack of discussion that may or may not have occurred over four years ago regarding a $110 summer event line item.

The Selectman minutes of 2016 do not validate then-First Selectwoman Reemsnyder’s statement to The Day that she was aware town officials selected Pappalardo’s son to a paid position to support the Osprey Festival of 2016. But we do not question her statement that she was aware.  There is just no public record to validate what conversations were held, or not held. They may have discussed hiring Papalardo’s son on other occasions, or they may not have. We just don’t have proof either way.  This therefore becomes just a he-said, she-said mud-in-your-eye debate. This town has much bigger fish to fry.

To the Pappalardo family – please accept our deepest gratitude for the hundreds and hundreds of selfless unpaid volunteer hours you’ve provided Old Lyme.  Your volunteerism speaks volumes to your deep dedication to this town.  You have been instrumental in bringing significant, positive change and your community spirit and commitment has been a shining example for all.  Thank you.

Until next summer when we can all once more dance up a storm against the roar of The Sound, we wish you and all our Old Lyme family friends, a blessed and peaceful holiday season. 

Doug and Mary Daley
Old Lyme