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January 07, 2015

Conn. City Weighs Ethics of Gift for Mayoral Staff Hire

Stamford, Conn., officials are debating whether it is appropriate for the town to accept a $25,000 donation from a local businessman and philanthropist to fund a City Hall staff position, the Stamford Advocate reports. The town's Board of Representatives voted Monday to return the proposal to a committee, with some members saying the offer by property developer Richard Freedman could create the appearance of impropriety because he has regular legal dealings with local government.

The donation to fund Mayor David Martin's hiring of a special assistant does not specifically violate Stamford's code of ethics, which bars gifts to individual officials from people doing business with the city but not to the city itself. Representative Kieran Ryan said he believes Mr. Freedman, who also serves on Stamford's elected Board of Finance, made the offer with civic-minded intentions but that accepting it "could be corrosive to the public trust."