Wednesday, April 24, 2013

MCEB Had Found Supervisor Romo-West Guilty Of Minor Ethic Violations

Peggy Romo-West and Sylvia Ortiz

(Click on MCEB document images to enlarge)

The Milwaukee County Ethics Board placed Milwaukee County Supervisor Romo-West in probation for three years after it was found she committed ethic violations in two separate occasions while in office, but decided to dismiss the complaint with stipulations.

By H. Nelson Goodson
April 24, 2013

Milwaukee, WI - Recently released documents dated October 15, 2012 by David Carr, Chair of the Milwaukee County Ethics Board (MCEB) confirmed that Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy Romo-West had committed several ethic violations while campaigning in 2011. The MCEB later determined the violations were minor and dismissed the complaint filed by Sylvia Ortiz, but with stipulations.
In September 2012, during a closed meeting with MCEB, Supervisor Romo-West agreed to refrain from committing similar or other minor violations in the future and to take training on how to maintain separate Facebook accounts. The MCEB can reopen the case, if she commits another ethics violation within the next three years, Carr wrote.
In February, Hispanic News Network U.S.A. (HNNUSA) broke the story and reported that the MCEB found that Supervisor Romo-West used her position to gain unlawful advantage during an election and using a County vehicle while campaigning. Ortiz, a former candidate for supervisor in the 12th Milwaukee County District had previously confirmed to HNNUSA, that she was notified by Veronica Robinson, executive director of the MCEB that Romo-West was found in violation of two ethic codes. According to Carr, in one violation, Romo-West used her position to gain unlawful benefits, advantages or privileges during an election, a violation of campaign prohibitions by wearing a Milwaukee County name tag and wearing a campaign T-shirt while riding a Milwaukee County vehicle. In a second violation, Romo-West used her personal Facebook account to post comments while on County time, including using a County official page for the purpose of keeping constituents informed as well as for fundraising purposes, while at a committee meeting at the courthouse where the Milwaukee County Board has its offices.
After July 2012 under an agreement with the MCEB, Romo-West attended a conference to learn about how to further separate her personal and professional Facebook pages. She agreed to maintain three separate Facebook pages, one which would be used as personal, a second for fundraising purposes and the third for her County official page for communicating with constituents.
The minor ethic code violations were dimissed with conditions that Romo-West must refrain from campaigning while in an official capacity, must refrain from using her elected position to gain unlawful influence and to keep three separate Facebook accounts, one for personal, a second for fundraising and campaigning, and a third for her County official page. 
An Order letter by Veronica W. Robinson, executive director of the MCEB dated, February 12, stated, "the MCEB makes no recommendation that the subject (Supervisor Romo-West) of this investigation be censured, suspended or that any action be taken to remove the subject from office." Robinson's letter didn't explained that in fact, the MCEB found Romo-West in violation of several ethic code violations and that she was placed on a three probation.
Today, Romo-West continues to deny that she actually violated any ethic code violations, but in fact she did, according to Carr.
When contacted on Wednesday, Ortiz stated, "It's disappointing that Supervisor Romo-West continues to deny that she committed any ethic violations, when in recently released documents by the MCEB shows, that she in fact violated ethic codes in several occasions by her actions."

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