GOP chairs input sought

While the state legislature wrestles with what to do with Gov. John G. Rowland's ethical indiscretions, Republican Town Committee chairmen's input was sought by the governor recently.

Rowland is being investigated for committing ethical wrongdoing in accepting expensive gifts from politically connected friends and contractors.

Most recently it has come to light that he accepted two motorcycles from Vincent J. DeRosa, his former chief of security who is currently Rowland's deputy public safety commissioner in charge of homeland security with an annual salary of more than $100,000. He also is the owner of a marina and car dealership.

Bethany, Orange and Woodbridge town chairmen had the opportunity to offer their particular insight and only one of the three said they actually stood by the governor.

Janet M. Finnerman, chairwoman of Bethany's Republican Town Committee, said she will not ask the governor to resign.

"I will not be one to jump on the bandwagon of blame and finger pointing, she said.

Finnerman said Rowland made an "error in judgment," but has seen no evidence that he broke the law.

"John Rowland has been a friend of mine both personally and politically for many years," she said. "I want to continue to support him as long as he remains my governor."

Woodbridge Republican Town Committee Chairman Donald Celotto said he was unable to attend the meeting.

Celotto said he didn't feel he was in a position to decide what the governor should do.

"I don't know the facts first hand. There are people better placed to make decisions and offer advice," he said.

Orange chairman Vincent Marino was also invited but also unable to attend.

Marnio said he was "extremely disappointed" the governor has allowed events to get to the point (considering impeachment hearings) they are now at.

He said there is a provision in the Connecticut Statutes where the governor can temporary relinquish his powers to Lt. Gov. M. Jodie Rell while the investigation is going on and still maintain his position as governor, collect his salary and keep his place of residence and not resign.

Marino was referring to Article XXII of the Constitution of the State of Connecticut.

Subsection C — Permanent or temporary transfer of governor's authority — says the governor can write a declaration that he is unable to exercise the powers and perform the duties of his office and can later write a declaration to the contrary when the investigation is over and return to power.

Marino believes that this should be explored and considered.

This was adopted Nov. 28, 1984.

No governor in Connecticut's 350-year history has ever been impeached. No General Assembly has ever even seriously considered beginning an impeachment inquiry against a governor

New Haven Register staff contributed to this article.

Bridget Albert can be reached at or 876-6800.