Last week, we noted that the reconstructed response to the Ethics Commission indicated that Ratliff appeared remarkably to have completely ignored his most serious conflict of interest; namely, his role advising Kennett Township regarding Fire/EMS services. We also noted that the Commission’s response clearly indicated that this would constitute a conflict of interest in the light of his wife’s position with Longwood Fire. This raised an interesting question; has Ratliff actually agreed to recuse himself from advising Kennett Township regarding Fire-EMS issues, as he claimed in an earlier newspaper report?: We submitted a Right to Know request to clarify when and how Ratliff announced his wife’s employment with Longwood Fire and then announced his intent to recuse himself. Like all other RTK requests, Ratliff has delayed responding to this request citing the “need for legal review”.
In the meantime, we have obtained a copy of the email dated November 8th., with relevant sections below. This confirms that Ratliff did not seek to recuse himself from advising Kennett Township in his role as Township Manager
"As you know, from time to time I have provided research and analysis to the Kennett Fire and EMS Regional Commission to assist them in decision making processes that they embark upon. My work has been at the approval of the majority of the Board of Supervisors.
Gabby’s new employment could lead someone to believe that there is a potential for a conflict of interest due to the work I preform (sic) for the Commission. While I believe the potential presence of a conflict may not be rooted in facts, it is my opinion that any potential conflict of interest needs to be handled appropriately. As such, I am abstaining from preforming (sic) any work including analysis, research, and providing recommendations, to the Kennett Fire and EMS Regional Commission (emphasis ours) until the Board of Supervisors and I can professionally address any potential conflict.
Kennett Township Supervisors refused to clarify this issue when it was raised in the public meeting of February 16. As far as we know, Ratliff remains free to influence township discussions to favor his wife’s employer. Taken together with Ratliff’s very public claims that he was “prudent and proactive” in dealing with these conflicts of interest, this reveals that Ratliff is quite willing to use carefully crafted statements to mislead the public - and his supervisors - about his intent.