Ethics Codes, Labor Law, and Adam Cloud

Nov 21, 2013

Hartford City Hall.
Credit Heather Brandon / WNPR

Hartford city auditors have said that Treasurer Adam Cloud had an apparent conflict of interest when it came to his family's business relationship with a city insurance broker. But this isn't Cloud's first run-in with the ethics code.

Cloud and his wife, Nicole Plessy-Cloud, both physically work in the treasurer's office. He's been there just a few years. She's been there since 1998, before the two were married. Initially, Adam Cloud was his wife's supervisor. It's an arrangement WNPR reported on two years ago, but disagreement over it continues.

In 2011, city auditors said the working arrangement was not in the city's best interest. Then, in December 2012, the city's ethics commission weighed in. It found that the Clouds were in violation of the city's ethics code -- the part that talks about the potential for the appearance of conflicts of interest. The commission said the way to solve the problem would be for Nicole Plessy-Cloud to accept reassignment to the city's finance department.

But what was first an ethics issue then became a labor issue. Plessy-Cloud's union disputed the way in which Mayor Pedro Segarra tried to move her out of the treasurer's office. The union filed a complaint with the State Board of Labor Relations -- and it won. In its decision, the labor board said that, as long as Adam Cloud had no say in his wife's pay or advancement, there was no conflict of interest. The city is appealing the ruling. 

According to her husband, Plessy-Cloud works out of the treasurer's office, but she reports to the city's finance department.

Adam Cloud's attorney did not respond to a request for comment.