by Lisa Tome
No ethical violations or misconduct have been found.
That's what the two-member Rising Sun Ethics Commission reported last week regarding allegations made against town administrator Calvin Bonenberger.
Bonenberger himself had requested the investigation following allegations by Mayor Bob Fisher, and citizens, neither of whom lives in town, Roger Lamb and Keith Campbell. The report stated that the allegations were made against Bonenberger on May 14 and 28 during town meetings. The mayor's allegations were allegedly made to private citizens in the community.
Ethics Commission members David Fox and Chip Slaybaugh explained that the only Bonenberger accuser who provided information to them was Lamb. They said that Campbell gave his information to Lamb. They also said the mayor didn't report when he was asked to on July 2. The mayor said that neither he or his attorney, Bruce Hemphill, was made aware that Fisher was needed. Fisher did confirm that he was requested to answer questions in June, during the time that he was scheduled to be at the Maryland Municipal League Convention.
The ethics commission also interviewed Jennifer Scully, officials from the Borough of Yeadon, Pa., where Bonenberger formerly worked, and took written information from Bonenberger.
• Allegation that Bonenberger had ties to developer George Beer. Finding was that the allegation is unsupported, false, and misleading.
• Allegation that Bonenberger applied for a job in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., where Beer owns property. Finding was that the allegation is unsupported and had no basis in commonsense.
• Allegation that Bonenberger was sent to Arizona at taxpayer expense in October 14 - 20, 2012. Bonenberger attended the International City County Manager Association meeting from October 7-10 for training in budget and expenditures. Allegation dismissed.
• Allegation that Bonenberger received a salary increase from the Town of Rising Sun on January 1 and after receiving this increase, applied for a job in Arizona. This allegation was unfounded and dismissed.
• Allegation that the proposed path of a new water line from Chester Water Authority which runs across property owned by George Beer, indicates collusion between Bonenberger and Beer. Finding is that the allegation was unfounded and dismissed.
• Allegation by Campbell that Bonenberger has held the town "over a barrel for his financial enrichment." Allegation was unsupported and dismissed.
• Allegation that Bonenberger has financial ties with Chester Water Authority. Allegation was unsupported and dismissed.
• Allegations were that Bonenberger "set up" Sandi Didra for her crimes and that the crimes occurred during Bonenberger's tenure. Two allegations unfounded and dismissed.
• Allegation that Bonenberger was fired from the Borough of Yeadon because he was a corrupt employee. Allegation found to be unsupported, unfounded, and dismissed.
The Ethics Commission members also reported that the allegations lack any degree of merit.
After the report was read in last week's town meeting, Bonenberger spoke out.
"I have been with the town six years now," said Bonenberger. He also confirmed that he has applied for other positions. "I can stay here and wear a bulletproof vest and have people threaten to shoot me. I have applied for jobs, but am committed to the Town of Rising Sun," said Bonenberger.
He said he is frustrated over the accusations that have been made. He also said it is the job of the presiding officer of the town to "protect the employees."
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