Monday, October 16, 2017

Being Ethical Seems To Be An Option

Brian E. Clark
Being Ethical Seems To Be An Option

By Staff Writer, Brian E. Clark

This story has a few parts, so bear with me as I get through the first one. I stated on our Facebook page the other day, that there may be a story on how Planning and Zoning Chair, and walking hemorrhoid, Stephen Devoto may have built a barn on his property without the proper permits. That turned out to not be the case, hence, no article. However, like a raccoon with rabies, Devoto thought this would be an opportune time to lash out at me, for no apparent reason. Remember, no story was written.

Leading up to this, I was being fed information from people from both political parties on Planning and Zoning regarding Devoto. Normally, I could care less about Planning and Zoning. I respect what they do, and they have an important role in our community, but it’s just not my cup of tea. Being a writer, the one thing I’ve found out, people LOVE to talk! Republicans, Democrats, Man, Woman, Secretaries, Heads of Departments- There’s no such thing as a secret or confidential information. There just isn’t. People love to talk. They want someone to be interested in what they have to say. I appreciate everyone who contacts me, I really, really do, but I obviously can’t be interested in everything. Like Planning and Zoning. But when the information started coming in, and it started coming from both sides of the aisle, yes, then I pay attention.

Going into this, I thought Stephen Devoto was an OK guy. He’s invited me to more events that I could ever remember, and I have gone to a few. We are just interested in different things. So, yes, I emailed him, and I was nice about it, I just asked him about this information that he built his barn without the permits needed. That said, I know I have a reputation of being hard on people. There are people who will absolutely not talk to me, because of that reputation, and hey, it is what it is. So, I made sure to say that I didn’t consider this to be an egregious offense, but a story had to be written if that’s what occurred.

He replied to my email, and in the first line, he says, “until I specifically state otherwise, all of our discussions, by email, instant messenger, phone, and in person, are off the record.” Ok, cool, whatever, let’s talk about this still. But it didn’t go that way. He went ahead to mock me by saying, “I can't respond to an allegation that is no more specific than "allegedly made bad decisions". I'm sure I have made plenty of "bad decisions" this year alone if you want me to address a particular set of them, you'll have to help me out a bit.” This story was simple. It was about permits and the allegation that he didn’t have the proper ones. Being the Chair of Planning & Zoning, that presents an issue. All of this could have been resolved with saying that he has the proper permits. It didn’t go that way.

Mind you this is only an issue because of the elected position he holds, as the Chair Person of Planning and Zoning. Instead, Devoto turns around and publishes my email, and what seemed like a “Ha, ha, ha, you stupid man. You say I don’t have permits, but here they are! You stupid, stupid man!”, in the Middletown Eye, which he also has his fingers in. Yes, he published the permits. The issue I have with this is he is a man we elected to Chair Planning & Zoning, and in that position, you are held to the Ethics Code. A person elected to ANY position has the absolute right to be questioned by ANY member of the community that elected them, without the fear or worry that they would be mocked, or belittled publicly! Also, since Devoto was so quick to call this all off the record, what’s with publishing my correspondence? Off the record? (I’ll also add, my emails, all of them, have a disclaimer at the bottom that says they can’t be copied or used without my express written consent. He also reprinted the Insider Header, which is our proprietary property.)

This isn’t about permits, or barns any longer. Now, it’s about why Stephen Devoto can't be bothered to follow the Ethics Code, or answer a questioning by the community that voted him into office. In my book, personally, Stephen Devoto is a piece of trash. The worst possible human being. Scum. A true, straight up piece of garbage. Why am I being so hard? Because as an elected official, this charlatan came to all of us, and said, “Vote for me. I’m your guy. I can do the job better than the other guy.” All he had was his word, and we believed him and voted for him. But when something questionable came up, he mocked, belittled, and acted like a straight-up bully. My language may be a tad salty, but I mean every word. And this joker wants to be elected again? My God, we’re screwed if we allow this type of behavior. Dan Drew is at least cordial!

I sit here shaking my head, because all this could have been avoided if he only said, “You are incorrect, here are the permits."

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