Aldus. Nick Sposato (38 years old)and) Wednesday blamed “commie, left-handed loonies” for accusing him of violating the city’s ethics ordinance by posting a photo on Facebook of himself dressed in firefighter gear in front of a city fire truck.
Sposato is one of three former Chicago firefighters who currently serve on the city council. He said the photo was taken while he was still an active firefighter and had been posted on his Facebook page since 2014 and featured in his campaign materials since he was first elected in 2011.
“It was like my main picture of me. I don’t see anything wrong with that. Can’t I have a picture of me in front of my fire truck? It doesn’t make sense to me. Once a firefighter, always a firefighter It’s almost like, once a Marine, always a Marine,” Sposato said.
Earlier this week, the Chicago Ethics Board found probable cause to believe that Sposato’s use of the photo taken on city property wearing city-issued gear violated that part of the ordinance. Code of Ethics governing the use of social media by city aldermen and elected officials. .
These 2019 rules require city officials to separate their political and personal accounts and promotional materials from the social media materials and accounts used to promote city actions.
The goal is to clearly distinguish and separate “non-municipal businesses” from “city sponsored or city-approved” actions and activities.
If Sposato is found guilty of the offense, it could result in fines of up to $5,000 for each violation.
But, the alderman hopes that it will not come to that. If he’s told the photo is a violation of the city’s ethics ordinance, he’ll take it down even if he strongly disagrees.
“If they say there’s something wrong, then fine. I’m not going to fight them over it. I’m just going to remove it.
Sposato said the photo has been “in place since at least 2014.” Why is this becoming a problem now?
“There is this group of commies, left-handed loons who are against [Jim] Gardner, [Anthony] Napolitano and me. Everything we do, they file complaints against us on a fairly regular basis,” Sposato said of fellow former Council firefighters.
“Now they’re complaining about an image on my page, and it’s actually a page that I haven’t even used in six weeks because when I post on my open pages, it gives these goofs a chance to say things. So the last six weeks I’ve only posted on my personal page.
Sposato said he doesn’t believe the “violation” is serious enough to warrant a fine.
“At the end of the day, if they’re like, ‘Hey, you can’t do that. You have to remove it, I will remove it altogether. I’m not going to argue or fight about it. I’ll just say, ‘What can I do? Is there anything that needs to be blacked out? Is the truck pointing to the Chicago Fire Department a problem? Is he wearing my coat of fire? It’s an old photo that I used for campaign stuff. It’s a bit disconcerting to me.
Last week, Sposato blamed a ‘stacked’ monuments commission with, as he said, ’27 left-handers and only three right-handers’, including himself, for recommending that three statues of Christopher Columbus be permanently removed and that the Balbo monument in Burnham Park be removed.