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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Will Council violate conflict-of-interest?

Will Councilors with a conflict of interest recuse themselves?

One question for tonight's (RESCHEDULED) Plainfield City Council meeting is whether some members will violate conflict-of-interest rules by discussing -- and perhaps voting on -- interest rates for overdue taxes and for tax lien sales.

When brought up at last week's agenda setting session by Tax Collector Dave Marshall, the pro forma resolution adopted for many years was derailed by Councilor Bill Reid with support from other members.

Olddoc reported on his blog that several (unnamed) members of the Council were in tax arrears to the tune of more than $62,000 (see his posts and all 22 comments here and here).

For these Councilors to be in arrears and to vote on reducing the interest penalty which they would face is beyond the pale.

But first is the question of whether the Mapp administration will bring that matter to the Council again at this time (it is not on tonight's proposed agenda that was emailed on Friday).

If the matter is brought up as a 'walk-on' item, will the Councilors who stand to gain personally by a reduction of interest rates recuse themselves?

Or will they plunge headlong into a conflict-of-interest situation?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

Hello Dan,

I think it is more a question of ethics than it is a conflict of interest or illegal. Council members can vote to reduce or increase the City's tax rate and the act of doing so could be beneficial for them. In this situation the council is proposing an action that will not only benefit them but, would also benefit others. I think this is a classic case of ethics vs. the legality of an action.

Anonymous said...

How is it a conflict of interest? That's like saying that any councilor who pays property taxes of any kind should recuse themselves from any votes on property taxes, obviously an absurdity.