We reported back in December that the Joint Commission on Public Ethics may have selected as an appointee someone with too close a connection to the legislative branch.
JCOPE, signed into law in 2011 and put into place later that year, is supposed to dispassionately and objectively probe state lawmakers. But one of its commissioners' wives worked for state Sen. Patty Ritchie, R-Heuvelton. That concerned the good-government groups.
But Jessica Renzi, the wife of JCOPE commissioner and Watertown attorney David Renzi, no longer works for Mrs. Ritchie, so there's no more possible conflict there. Mrs. Renzi stopped working for the office in late May, Ritchie spokeswoman Sarah Compo said. She left the office for personal reasons, Ms. Compo said; her departure had nothing to do with the JCOPE connection.
The Ritchie office denied that the relationship was in any way untoward, and Mr. Renzi remains on the JCOPE board.
Mr. Renzi, who was appointed by Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, is assuredly quite busy right now dealing with sexual harassment allegations against a member of the Assembly and the Assembly's role in providing taxpayer settlement money.