Ethics decision delayed for outcome of lawsuit

By GABRIEL GOODWIN
Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK — City Council was not given the opportunity to decide the consequences for Councilman Angelo DeGuilio Wednesday after a Wayne County Circuit Court judge postponed her decision to November.

The city Board of Ethics heard testimony regarding Angelo DeGuilio’s alleged “disparaging and discouraging remarks” toward two police officers and concluded he was in violation of the city charter. The council was supposed to decide on any consequences passed down onto the councilman.

The council has tried to set dates for a special meeting to rule on the potential consequences — which could include an apology from DeGuilio or his removal from the council — but could not because of scheduling conflicts.

Once a date was set Oct. 8, DeGuilio filed a temporary restraining order against the city and questioned the legality of a discipline hearing. The case was presented to Judge Annette Berry in an Oct. 25 Circuit Court hearing.

Barry adjourned the case to review all of the information and said she would reopen the case at 9:30 a.m. Monday to give her verdict. The council special meeting has subsequently been cancelled until Barry gives her decision.

DeGuilio said he did not receive the required notice and could not prepare a proper defense. City officials said they made announcement at the meeting — while he was present — posted notice of the date in city hall and mailed letters to DeGuilio’s known addresses should have given him enough time.

One official said it was discovered that DeGuilio changed his address through the voter registration system, in an alleged attempt to “dodge” the 14-day notice, less than 24 hours after the date was announced.

The Ethics Board of Review heard complaints made by Officer Wayne Albright and retired Officer Russell Pillar and ruled Aug. 7 that DeGuilio violated two articles of the city’s ethical guidelines set in the city’s charter. The board recommended that disciplinary action should be taken by the council because “he should be disciplined by a panel of his peers.”

The board decided DeGuilio violated two ethical principles held for government officials — the principle of respectability and fitness for public office and the principle of congeniality and productivity — with his actions and words, after an Aug. 21, 2012, council meeting, toward Albright and Pillar and said they were inappropriate for any city official.

When the ethics board found him guilty of the violations, DeGuilio said he did not understand the ongoing repercussions of calling Pillar a “dumb, stupid cop,” or any of the other alleged misconducts because it was during an argument between three people. He said he didn’t know that during the incident he was still being held to a higher standard than any other resident standing in the hallway.

(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at ggoodwin@bewickpublications.com.)

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