Controversy brewing in Building Department

BEACON FALLS — The town’s Building Department has suddenly found itself at the center of two controversies.

On Aug. 25, resident Doug Bousquet filed an ethics violation complaint against Board of Finance Chairman Joe Rodorigo.

In the complaint, Bousquet alleges that Rodorigo, on several occasions, sat at Building Inspector James Tucciarone’s desk, used his computer, and went through files without permission.

“I don’t know what he was doing. He shouldn’t have been in those files,” Bousquet said.

Bousquet feels Rodorigo should resign his position as Board of Finance chairman.

“I don’t think he should be chairman of the finance board. I don’t think he should be doing that in this position. Something should be done about it,” Bousquet said.

Bousquet brought the issue before the Planning and Zoning Commission on Aug. 18. According to the minutes of the meeting, the commission voted to send a letter to the Board of Selectman regarding use of computers by unauthorized persons.

Planning and Zoning Chairman Kevin McDuffie declined to release the letter to the Citizen’s News until it was read and accepted by the Board of Selectmen. First Selectman Christopher Bielik said he had not received the letter as of Tuesday.

Rodorigo said in an email that he didn’t use Tucciarone’s computer.

“I never used his computer or have access, as it should be password protected, but I don’t know if it is as I have never attempted to use it,” Rodorigo said.

Messages left for Tucciarone seeking comment were not returned.

Bielik said the town forwards any ethic complaint it receives to the Ethics Commission. The commission then schedules a hearing with the person that brought the complaint forward and the person who it’s against.

Bielik said he has brought this complaint to the attention of the commission chairman.

“We are just letting the process play itself out,” Bielik said.

The town’s code of ethic ordinance outlines four prohibited activities for town employees and officials, including accepting a gift of more than $50, entering into contract for more than $100 that is not work related, representing someone other than themselves, a family member, or their own business before a town board or commission, and accepting money for any speech or appearance in an event in an official capacity.

The ordinance, which went into effect in 2006, does not mention using an employee’s office or computer.

Rodorigo said he received a copy of the complaint, and doesn’t think any ethics violation occurred.

“Based on the complaint I fail to see an ethics violation and believe that as it goes through the process that the ethics committee will come to the same conclusion,” Rodorigo said.

A second bombshell dropped on Tuesday when Tucciarone was placed on paid administrative leave.

Bielik said he couldn’t go into detail about the reason Tucciarone was placed on leave, but did say that the leave was not connected to the ethics violation complaint.

“There is an internal review that we are in the process of conducting,” Bielik said.

The leave is indefinite pending the conclusion of the investigation, Bielik said.

Tucciarone, who has worked in the Building Department for approximately two and a half years, serves as the town’s building inspector, zoning officer, and blight officer. With him on leave, there is no one manning the office.

Bielik said the town has a former building inspector it can contact in case of emergencies.

“We’re hoping to minimize this interruption as much as possible,” Bielik said.

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