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Opinion: ‘Derbygate’ a fine example of ‘quasi-public’ arrogance

Terry Cowgill

Terry Cowgill

Terry Cowgill lives in Lakeville, blogs at ctdevilsadvocate.com and is news editor of The Berkshire Record in Great Barrington, Mass. Follow him on Twitter @terrycowgill.

If you’re a public official involved in questionable behavior, the last thing you want to hear is someone in the media attaching a Nixonian suffix to your dubious doings. But that’s exactly what’s happened in Norwich, where ratepayers are outraged at an annual Kentucky Derby junket for board members that has over the last four years cost the local utility more than $1 million.

The resulting scandal has earned the moniker Derbygate.

The attendees had most of their expenses covered by the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative (CMEEC). The excursions were spun by officials as a “qualitative investment” and “strategic retreats” for dozens of board members, municipal officials, and guests associated with the six-town energy cooperative. Guests and family members of the officials went on the trip in order, CMEEC’s director said, to “maximize participation” among CMEEC decision makers. I guess so. According to the Bulletin, of the trip’s 44 attendees, 32 were not directly involved with CMEEC or any of its member utilities.

The junkets have raised ethical questions and were followed by inquiries from the FBI, an investigation by Groton City Mayor Marian Galbraith, and a review by the Norwich Ethics Commission.

Read the full story on CT News Junkie.

One comment

Michael Boucher December 25, 2016 at 10:28 am

Mayor Galbraith is blocking information about the failed cable company TVC and their trips. TVC was run by GU ( part of CMEEC ) and the City of Groton ( Mayor Galbraith)

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