… ANOTHER CONFLICT OF INTEREST
On Wednesday, December 14, 2011, the Wildomar City Council will be making subcommittee appointments for the coming year. A subcommittee is comprised of two city Council members, who meet within their area of interest and then report their findings and recommendations to the entire City Council during a regular, agendized, public meeting.
For the past year, Mayor Marsha Swanson has been on the EVMWD subcommittee, along with Councilmember Tim Walker.
At the same time, Swanson has been a paid real estate consultant for the EVMWD, and we have previously objected to the conflict of interest between her consultancy and being a member of the Wildomar City Council. As a result of my objection, City Attorney Julie Biggs opined that there was no conflict between Swanson being a City Council member and a paid real estate consultant for the EVM WD.
Fair enough, although I still disagree with her finite legal opinion. However, this is a more specific, equally finite objection.
When the Council subcommittee meets quarterly with the representatives of the EVMWD, how does Swanson separate her loyalties and obligations as to who she represents during that meeting?
Rather than relying upon our external judgments as to her internal mental processes and motives (even the Bible declares that only God knows the heart of a person; as humans, we can only observe conduct and make judgments, based on the outward actions of another), would it not be healthier for the City of Wildomar for another City Councilmember to take Swanson’s position on the subcommittee?
Granted, Swanson’s familiarity and collegiality with EVMWD staff, were she not a city councilmember could be considered valuable. In this case, her status as a City Council member renders her experience and familiarity valueless, if not potentially detrimental to the interests of the City of Wildomar.
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(This isn’t a game; this is our government. Zak Turango, 2010)