Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A LETTER TO THE WASATCH COUNTY COUNCIL

Dear Honorable Council Members,
During the last few years, it has become increasingly apparent, that problems involving "Conflicts of Interests" seems to have grown and now are more public than ever. As you govern, perhaps you also have seen this growth in Conflicts and the struggle involved in keeping those with Conflicts from participating in decisions that affect their holdings in the County or the holdings of their family.

In reviewing some of the interviews that have been conducted on the IMPACT program, on KTMP, the local radio station, there seems to be some agreement, that conflicts exists. But so far, no one, has stepped forward with a plan to remove the most egregious ones.
It would seem, that all conflicts should be scrutinized for their long term implications on decisions as well as their effect on the public perception. Many of our leaders should be cognizant of the feelings of the public regarding government in general and conflicts in particular.
The public has spoken many times in polls and letters, making the point, that confidence in public officials as well as those appointed, is at an-all time low.
There seems to be the need to address this issue of "conflicts of Interest’,so that public confidence can be restored to the process of governing.

One would hope, no public official would try and marginalize the issue with statements that everyone in a leadership position has a conflict. Because a careful review, will show that some conflicts are more devious than others and some are perception rather than real.

It is refreshing to be able to congratulate some of our leaders that recognize the problem in themselves and are quick to point out, where conflicts exist. And in doing so, have informed the public of the conflict and have either removed themselves from the meeting or continued based on advice and consent of those involved in the process or on the commission or committee and in some cases even discussion with the audience. This type of confession goes along way, in restoring confidence.

Citizens of Wasatch County, are asking that you implement a plan of action to reduce and eventually eliminate "conflicts of Interests", in the public process.
The following from the Washington State Supreme Court in the matter of "Buell v. City of Bremerton could be a good measuring rod regarding this issue.

"Members of commissions with the role of conducting fair and impartial fact-finding hearings must, as far as practicable, be open-minded, objective, impartial, free of entangling influences and capable of hearing the weak voices as well as the strong. The importance of the appearance of fairness has resulted in the recognition that it is necessary only to show an interest which might have influenced a member of the commission and not that it actually so affected him."

There seems to be a need to train those who serve, to realize, the service they render, must be free of entanglements and Conflicts of Interests. The public deserves their best approach and complete honesty. Perhaps, it might not be too bold, to suggest, those who serve and continue to make decisions where obvious conflicts are apparent, that seeking their resignation might be in order.

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