Councilors Disagree Over Donation to City
A donation to the city of Bangor is causing a bit of controversy. At Monday night’s city council meeting, Councilor Charlie Longo let it be known he’s not happy with something Council Chair Cary Weston’s company gave to the city. The City of Bangor has a new website. ” I think it looks really nice. I think the city staff did a fabulous job designing the website,” said Elizabeth Sutherland. ” The website is beautiful. I just wish it was under better circumstances,” said Charlie Longo. City Councilor Charlie Longo has a problem with a donation of software given to the city by Sutherland Weston, a Bangor marketing communications firm. Longo says it goes against a provision in the city’s charter. ” It says that we’re not able to accept gifts from people who seek to do business from the city or are currently doing business from the city,” said Longo. Council Chair Cary Weston is a partner in Sutherland Weston. Weston didn’t want to address the issue, but his partner, Elizabeth Sutherland, says there’s no ulterior motive behind the donation. ” We just wanted to do a nice thing for the city of Bangor and its taxpayers,” said Sutherland.What they donated was a content management system, a tool used to help design websites. “So instead of having to go outside and hire an outside vendor with this donation, they were able to do everything in house,” said Sutherland. Sutherland says you can’t put a price on the donation because they didn’t put any work into it. ” The city of Bangor has created this website for themselves and I really think they did a nice job. All we did was provide a tool,” added Sutherland. Longo says the council was not consulted about the decision to accept the donation.” Which was a mistake,” said Longo.Sutherland tells us her company gives away free services throughout the year, and says this one is no different. She says Weston’s position with the city has nothing to do with the decision. ‘ My business partner’s role on the City Council only matters in that we happened to know that there was this need,” said Sutherland. For Longo, it’s unacceptable. ” We have a code of ethics we swore to uphold and I think that’s important,” said Longo. For Sutherland, it was just a nice gesture. ” We really believe in being good corporate neighbors, good corporate citizens and so that was just part of that,” said Sutherland. For now they are agreeing on one thing, the website looks nice. City Manager Catherine Conlow tells us, if the decision is made to reject the donation from Sutherland Weston, the city will have to pay $3,000 for new software and spend a month getting a new website designed. The city solicitor will make a recommendation to the council on what to do sometime soon.