Ethics panel discussion with Phil West

Phil West, whom the Providence Journal once dubbed “the godfather of political reform in Rhode Island,” will be the guest speaker at a forum on “Getting the Government We Deserve.” The session is free and open to the public.

As executive director of Common Cause RI for 18 years, West was at the center of citizen agitation for the reform of Rhode Island politics and government. Author of the recently published Secrets and Scandals: Reforming Rhode Island 1986-2006, West will share his story with fascinating inside accounts of the struggles he and others waged for political reform. He will touch on issues such as “pay-to-play” schemes; political conflicts of interest; appointments of “friends” to the judiciary, boards, commissions, and administrative offices; and separation of powers in Rhode Island governance.

The Ronald K. and Kati C. Machtley Interfaith Center’s fifth annual ethics event also features a distinguished panel that includes: former Rhode Island Auditor Gen. Ernest Almonte ´78, ´85 MST, ´09H; former Bryant Trustee and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Hasbro, Inc., the Rhode Island-based multibillion-dollar international toy company, Alan Hassenfeld ‘85H; former R.I. Atty. Gen. Arlene Violet, and former U.S. Congressman and R.I. Lt. Gov. Robert Weygand.

Almonte oversaw municipal, fraud, and quasi-public agency audits during his 16 years in the key role of auditor general. He was the first public servant to be elected national chairman of the nation's largest body of CPAs, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), since the organization’s founding in 1887.

Hassenfeld has had a long-standing interest in helping state and local officials prepare effectively and ethically for the challenges of public governance. The Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant was launched and continues its work with support from Hassenfeld and the Hassenfeld Family Initiatives, L.L.C.

Violet, a former radio talk show host, is a practicing attorney. She is the author of Convictions: My Journey, published in 1988, and is the co-author of The Mob and Me: Wiseguys and the Witness Protection Program

Weygand served as the University of Rhode Island’s vice president for Administration and Finance before joining the faculty in the Department of Political Science and director of the graduate program in Public Administration. He was previously the president and CEO of the New England Board of Higher Education in Boston.

West and the panelists will talk about their involvement in struggles for political reform in the Ocean State, values that compelled them to step up to these struggles for reform, and the necessity for citizens to demand clean and open government to maintain healthy democracies.

The Machtley Interfaith Center at Bryant hosts an ethics event each year to provide students with the opportunity to reflect on their own values and practice a process for solving ethical dilemmas and reaching decisions that take their values, other value systems, and the impact of their decisions on others into account.

For more information about the event, contact John Nesbitt, Program Coordinator of the Machtley Interfaith Center at (401) 232-6119 or   

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at 7:00pm

Chace MAC

Event Type

Lecture, Co-Curricular


Interfaith Center

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