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Friday, September 16, 2016

Conflicts Of Interest And Local Government

In small town government, conflicts of interest can seem apparent at nearly every turn, but locally most of the time problems do not arise.

For example, take the Boardwalk street performer task force. It’s comprised of Boardwalk business owners and a street performer, among others. Surely, the Boardwalk property owners appointed to the body have a stake in this situation as does the spray paint artist himself. They may or may not be exercising judgment based on their own well-beings but surely they are referring to their own unique perspectives when weighing in on certain matters. Their personal experiences make them knowledgeable on the matters at hand.

Concerns would surface if the Boardwalk property owners were crafting or proposing legislation that would singularly help their business and bottom line while not looking to suggest Boardwalk-wide recommendations. Over two years of crafting proposed rules and regulations, all individuals involved appeared to approach matters with a broad enough lens to not raise any proverbial red flags.

The same can be said for several other committees in Ocean City. On the surface, there would appear to be obvious conflicts of interest after a review of their personnel make-ups because the individuals serving on these groups have experiences and knowledge unique to their professions. It’s typically okay for these sorts of advisory groups to work around these obvious conflicts so long as it doesn’t hamper integrity and undermine policy making at the higher Mayor and Council level. What cannot be tolerated is any semblance of impropriety or actions that raise questions about impartiality and special treatment.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Steve, for your astute op-ed. The foxes are definitely guarding the hen house in this city that we love.