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Bristol Council Sets Deadline On City Hall Inquiry

BRISTOL — Still keeping all of the details closely guarded, the city council on Monday imposed an Oct. 2 deadline on its inquiry into possible turmoil at city hall.

Attorney Michael Rose is looking into a conflict between Mayor Ken Cockayne and council member Jodi Zils-Gagne, his cousin.

Nobody is publicly saying what the dispute was about or how it may have affected city business, but the council decided through a bipartisan, unanimous vote last month to hire Rose to investigate.

On Monday night, the council met in executive session and then voted 4-0 to direct Rose to report his findings by Oct. 2. Zils-Gagne, a Republican, and David Preleski, a Democrat, attended the executive session but both recused themselves from the vote.

The council said it wants Rose to “follow up with the mayor or other employees” in the meantime.

This summer, Cockayne publicly apologized for a conflict with Zils-Gagne that he conceded had spilled over into politics. But he has since said it was a private matter that didn’t affect the city, and has called the council’s actions “political.”

The council first hired Rose last summer in the midst of a city employee’s allegation that Cockayne retaliated against her for complaining about sexual harassment.

The city has steadfastly refused to release Rose’s full report in that case, but unanimously voted to censure Cockayne last September for his conduct. In a summary of the report, Rose wrote that Cockayne’s conduct might have cost him his job if he were in private industry.

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