Christine Stuart photo
When Gov. M. Jodi Rell first took office in July 2004 she signed executive order no.1 which created the position of Special Ethics Counsel.The position was created to condemn the culture of corruption produced by the scandal that sent former governor John G. Rowland to jail. But now more than two years later the position and its responsibilities will be added to the job description of the governor’s new Chief Legal Counsel. On Thursday Rell appointed Anna Ficeto, her former deputy chief of staff as her new Chief Legal Counsel. But Rell admitted Friday that she neglected to tell Ficeto she will also need to fulfill the responsibility of Special Ethics Counsel.
“I haven’t asked her officially to do it, but I will,” Rell said at a press conference Friday. She said we really haven’t had anyone in the position full-time. She said the first Special Ethics Counsel Rachel Rubin wasn’t in the office full-time and was just on loan to the office from the University of Connecticut. She said as deputy chief of staff Ficeto had already been fulfilling the duties of Special Ethics Counsel part-time, when Rubin returned to UConn in April. Rell said she thinks her staff is very much in tune with what the ethics guidelines are. “I think we’ve made very clear what the ethics guidelines are,” she said Friday. Ficeto, 42, has served as Deputy Chief of Staff since March of this year. Prior to that, she was Deputy Commissioner in the Department of Administrative Services where she accepted an invitation to the controversial Rell campaign fundraiser last year. According to the investigation this past summer by the Government Administration and Elections Committee, Ficeto was given an invitation to the Rell fundraiser by her then boss, DAS Commissioner Linda Yelmini. Yelmini later entered into a settlement agreement with the state, but still refused to admit she broke any laws by handing out two invitations to two of her employees. Yelmini was one of 16 commissioners fined $500 for agreeing to hand out invitations to a Rell campaign fundraiser. Yelmini and the others were solicited by Rell’s Chief of Staff M. Lisa Moody to hand out the invitations on state time. Moody has apologized for her lapse in judgment. Ficeto succeeds Kevin Rasch who left the position of Chief Legal Counsel in July.