Thursday, August 08, 2013

Ethics in focus, airport manager fired: Sikorsky Memorial (KBDR) Bridgeport, Connecticut

In light of the recent scandal at the Sikorsky Memorial Airport – where  taxpayers paid for a $400,000 private driveway – Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch wants to implement a new way to monitor employees’ conflicts of interest.

Earlier this summer it was discovered John Ricci, the airport manager at Sikorsky Airport, had helped secure a city contract for past business partner Manuel Moutinho, a multi-millionaire developer, to build a $400,000 private driveway to Moutinho’s mansion, located on airport property.

Finch announced Ricci’s termination late last week, citing “reckless and intentional misconduct.” Now department heads and employees will be required to annually fill out conflict of interest forms when it comes to city contracts. With the forms, Finch said he hopes the city will have the “strongest ethics standards in the state.”

Ricci has reportedly said the city knew of his relationship with Moutinho prior to the contract.

The driveway deal was a part of the long-awaited agreement between Bridgeport and the town of Stratford to extend the crash safety zone at the airport, which is located on property owned by Stratford. At the time of the announcement, the Federal Aviation Administration agreed to pay for 90 percent of the $20 million project.

With federal money involved, FBI officials are now investigating whether the funds were used appropriately.