By TAYLOR HARTZ
Craig Simms, former Chairman of the Board of Ethics (BOE), resigned from his position on Wednesday after the Town Council voted to vacate a recent decision made by the board.
Simms (R) voted with Democrats Phillip Pomposi and James Sinclair in a majority opinion on Sept. 15 that found Town Councilor Tom Lombardi in violation of the town’s ethical code.
The 3-1 vote, with Republican Andrew Meade opposing, ruled that Lombardi had voted on a matter in which he had a conflict of interest.
Simms explained, in an op-ed sent to The Observer on Oct. 22, that he analyzed the ethical code as it pertained to the potential conflict of interest, and he stood by his decision based on “indisputable facts.”
“I did not once take into account the character of the complainants or the motives, political or otherwise, for their complaint,” said Simms, who also said he did not consider Lombardi’s reputation or persuasion from Republican politicians.
“None of these factors had, or should have had, any impact on my decision,” said Simms.
Simms resigned from his position on Oct. 21.
The former Chairman said he was disappointed in both political parties involved in the case and that he was misled as to what his roll would be when asked to participate on the board.
“When political issues on both sides pollute the basic tenets of ‘ethics,’ the process ceases to be ethical,” said Simms.
Democratic Town Leader Edward Rosenblatt said he is saddened to hear of Simms’ resignation, and considers it “a loss to the entire town.”
Rosenblatt described Simms as “the only member of the Board of Ethics who had the courage to cross party lines for the sake of the truth,” and said Republican Town Leader Brian Callahan’s call for his resignation was “outrageous.”
Callahan could not be reached for comment by press time.
Simms said in his letter that he urges the town to review the code of ethics and their procedure for complaints and appeals in order to “salvage its reputation as an ethical place to live, work and do business.”