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May 16, 2005

Conflict of Interest, and then some

Not only is Commissioner Boynton in conflict of interest in discussions pertaining to the West Front Street Development and its link to Parking Lot T, but he was allowed to pull a three-fer: he acted as commissioner at this evening's commission discussion, and when he decided to abstain from voting, was allowed to leave the commission panel and speak as a citizen on the issue, then return to his commissioner position ... all as a partner in the firm of the owner of the west side development property.

When he asked the city attorney if this was permitted, the city attorney allowed it, stating that he wasn't sure ... "that he had never been asked this question before." The city attorney should have erred on the side of caution and instructed Mr. Boynton to remain seated, and abstain from voting.

Imagine the hoo-ha if anyone else tried this.

By the way, as a "citizen" he wanted to encourage the commission to not go along with the developer's request for an 18-month exclusivity. Of course, if some other developer came along during the 18 month exclusivity agreement, and wanted to purchase Mr. Boynton's partner's property (not linking it to Parking Lot T) it could not be sold. Of course!

Posted by Gadflygirl at 09:43 PM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2005

Conflict of Interest

Saturday's Record Eagle reported, "the newly appointed commissioner might have a conflict of interest." You think? What puzzles me is why the Record Eagle did not print this "possibility" prior to the dog-and-pony show of Thursday, May 5th, when after several interested contestants were interviewed for the appointment, there was only one nomination.

We are talking about Jack Boynton, whom most people knew was running for the appointment at least a week ahead of time, as did the City Commission. His law firm partner owns the West Front Street property, which is up for sale for a massive redevelopment project. This topic is up for discussion at the upcoming Monday (May 16) Commission Meeting.

Even if Jack Boynton were not allowed to vote on this subject, because of the financial connection to him and his law firm, the appearance of influence is clear. I cannot understand how he was appointed, and as I stated in my last post, I like Jack Boynton.

In the meantime, his appointment and the upcoming agenda bring to mind the treatment of Commissioner Melichar over the brick power plant building. She was barred from closed session meetings, she was berated constantly and accused of being a dues-paying member of a group advocating for saving the building. The City Attorney accused her of lying in a deposition, and accused people who knew her of being in cahoots. One person had to hire an attorney in answer to a subpoena asking that emails from her, many of which had nothing to do with the power plant, be handed over to the City Attorney.

What about Jack Boynton's "group?" His advocacy? His financial interest? His emails?

Once again, these Commissioners favor only those in agreement. Anyone else should fasten his or her seatbelt.

Posted by Gadflygirl at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2005

Want to be on the Commission? Don't Hold your Breath

Mr. Morality has resigned from the City Commission for unspecified personal reasons, and the rumor is he is on his way out of town. So, the City Commission had to appoint someone to fill his spot until November. The criteria were someone who has served as a City Commissioner in the past, and someone who would not be interested in running again in November. But … anyone could apply and would be interviewed.

The interviews took place last night, and what a waste of everyone's time. There was one person who was City Commissioner in the past, and this is Jack Boynton. The floor was open to nominations … he was nominated (and no other), and won the position by unanimous vote.

During the interview process, Scott Hardy asked everyone why he or she decided to try for the position, since he had not seen him or her appear before the City Commission at any other time, nor run for appointment to any subcommittee/board. I believe he even prefaced his question by referring to "ascending" to the City Commission. I do not remember Scott Hardy appearing before the City Commission ever, nor am I aware if he served on any other board. It could be that he has. But at least two of the interviewees have committed to service in the community. Scott Hardy was appointed to the City Commission to fill his father's seat. His father's wife, I recall, considered the position his due. He then ran for the position when his father's term was up.

Another Commissioner, T. Michael Jackson, who will not run again (and made quite the announcement to this effect), questioned why the applicants would not consider running. Well, the criterion was that they not run.

I don't have anything against Jack Boynton. I recall his term as Commissioner in the past, and thought he was fair and listened to the concerns of the public. He didn't snort, roll his eyes, exhaust his breath, nor did he belittle verbally and nastily his fellow commissioners. I think he could bring some civility to the commission. However, as a partner in the law firm of the owner of the west Front Street property, up for a massive redevelopment, how can his position not be considered a conflict of interest? Perhaps he would abstain from voting on this issue as well as any other concerning a bank client of his, but then we are back to five votes … something the Commission wanted to remedy (or so they say).

Appearance is everything.

Posted by Gadflygirl at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)