Transparent and honest government was the topic of the eighth forum mayoral hopeful Daryl Finizio has been holding around New London.
Finizio began the discussion, held at , by discussing how the new office of mayor will wield a lot of power, and this power must be used wisely. He said, however, “In the right hands this could be what we’re looking for.” Finizio, a Democrat who will challenge Councilor Michael Buscetto III in a primary on Sept. 13, stressed that if elected mayor he would appoint officials based on merit, rather than on which political party they belong to. He also said he would not appoint anyone on his election staff to office. “We don’t pay to play,” he noted.
Discussing transparent and honest government took up a large part of the evening. Finizio told the audience that the ethical standards in his campaign go far and beyond what is actually needed. Then he spoke of the “elephant in the room”: the current made against Councilor Michael Buscetto by current chief Margaret Ackley.
Finizio told the crowd that while Buscetto, his rival in the Democratic primary, has done some very good things for the city, these accusations must be taken seriously. He also made it clear that any potential investigation should be run by the federal government, especially the US Attorney’s Office and the FBI, using the RICO statutes. Then, if the investigation finds these accusations to be true, Buscetto should resign from the City Council and should not be able to hold any office. If the investigation proves to lean in Buscetto’s favor, however, then he must be totally exonerated.
Finizio sent out a message to Ackley, stating that he would love to keep her on as police chief and he would work with her on all issues. Ackley has done an excellent job in reducing crime, according to Finizio. However, if she does step down the city must begin a nationwide search for a new chief.
Finizio fielded a number of questions during the forum, including a number of heated ones about the Buscetto accusations. Finizio’s policy platform took further shape as he was questioned about his stance on environmental sustainability (which is the topic of his current PhD thesis). He is a strong proponent of green power and would like it integrated into current city energy policy. When asked about building a new and other maintenance issues, he said “We have no sense of where we’re going.” He made it clear that money must be set aside in the budget for maintenance of current buildings, not just for building new projects.
“We must be strong enough to speak out if something is wrong,” stated Finizio. The message touched on throughout the evening was one of accountability and honesty. Finizio noted that the public has seen so many scandals that their response to a new one is that it's par for the course politics. “We need to make sure that politics is no longer that way,” he stressed.
Finizio finished his speech by putting a twist on a quote by former mayor Eunice Waller. “Politics is a dirty business, “said Waller. Finizio said, “It doesn’t clean up itself.”