Mason resigns from BET, avoiding “any chance of appearance of conflict of interest”

On Thursday Mike Mason, resigned from the BET where he was chair and served as Republican caucus leader and was a member since 2004.

Thursday also happened to be the day he commenced his two year contract with the town to serve as labor negotiator.

Mason’s resignation was effective immediately.

Mason had previously said he hoped to finish out this term, which would have meant about four more meetings.

Mr. Mason’s contract with the Town is effective July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2023. According to the contractual agreement, Mason will be paid $12,500 per month.

The BET is comprised of six Democrats and six Republicans, meaning Mason’s replacement must be a Republican. The Republicans, who received the most votes in the previous municipal election, get to hold on to the chairmanship. That will likely happen at a special meeting that determines the new chair and fills Mason’s spot on the board.

On Friday morning, Fred Camillo, who hired Mason for the labor negotiations position, said he’d received emails from people upset that Mr. Mason intended to stay on the BET.

“But it wasn’t clear that he had to resign,” Camillo said. “But Mike, from the beginning, said that he would do the right thing. He couldn’t resign before his contract. Some people jumped to conclusions and viewed it as a conflict of interest when that wasn’t even clear.

“Any time there is even an appearance of that, you try to avoid it,” Camillo added. “Mike was very sensitive to that also.”

The First Selectman said the town legal department was looking into the situation for future reference, but that it wasn’t as clear as one might imagine.

“There’s not only state statutes, there’s local ordinances, there’s the ethics board. But just a quick glance at it, it looked like it was okay, but we’ll certainly get clarity from the law department.”