Bergstein seeks ethics ruling on hiring aide
State Sen. Alex Bergstein has asked state ethics officials to rule on the hiring of a former campaign worker for her Capitol office.
But the chief of staff of the majority Democratic Senate caucus defended the hiring of the aide, whom Bergstein, D-Greenwich, is paying with her own money.
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Nancy S. Nicolescu, director of education and communications for the Office of State Ethics, said Monday that the agency’s legal division is researching the issue, at Bergstein’s request.
“Legislators, like other state officials and employees are subject to the Code of Ethics,” Nicolescu said. “Our conflict-of-interest rules are grounded on a single rationale: that public service is a public trust and must not be used for personal financial benefit, or for the financial benefit of certain family members or any “associated” business. Absent such financial benefit, the Code generally does not apply.”
Vincent Mauro Jr., chief of staff for the Senate Democrats, said that literally dozens of legislative workers are in similar positions.
“There are currently about 60 badged, non-program legislative individuals working in the state legislature, according to State Capitol Police,” Mauro said. “This is not unusual and is a long-standing practice in the state legislature.”
The first-term Bergstein, whose district includes parts of Stamford and New Canaan, is a lawyer and former chairman of the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center. She is the co-chairman of the legislative Banking Committee.
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