Council Ethics Questioned

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Editor:

An open letter to the Payson Town Council:

This letter reminds each of you regarding your obligations under the ethics policy, prompted by the following:

  • The "Friends of Payson Parks and Recreation" were joining Gile Sievers in the lawsuit against the referendum on the YMCA.
  • Two council members are officers of the "Friends of Payson Parks and Recreation" and have worked diligently to bring the YMCA to this point and have used influence they have to see the YMCA through.
  • An annual report of the "Friends of Payson Parks and Recreation" shows an expense of $20,000 for YMCA "Phase II".
  • It is believed that Councilman Wilson contributed to the Y for capital planning and the architectural drawings.

A formal investigation under the ethics policy would determine if there are conflicts involved with the above. There may actually be two violations. The Town of Payson "Code of Ethical Behavior...." states explicitly, the following requirements:

"When a conflict of interest arises, the Town official involved must immediately refrain from participating in any manner in the Town's decision-making processes on the matter as a Town official, including voting on the matter or attending meetings with, having written or verbal communications with, or offering advice to, any Town official, Town employee, contractor, agent, or officially appointed member of a Town board, commission, committee, task force, or agency ... In addition, within three business days of the conflict arising, the Town official must declare the specific nature of the interest on the public record by updating his or her Personal Interest Disclosure Form in the Town Clerk's office."

AND:

"During a public meeting when an agenda item in which a Town official has a conflict of interest comes up for consideration, the Town official shall state publicly that he or she has a conflict, state the nature of the conflict, recuse himself or herself, and leave the room while the matter is being discussed and acted upon by others on the public body."

That same policy also states in the opening paragraph:

"Honesty, integrity, fairness, and transparency of action are the hallmarks of public service in Payson. Use of one's position or office for personal gain or inappropriate influence will not be tolerated."

We sincerely hope that any Payson Town Council members who may have a conflict or even the appearance of will be mindful of the Town policy and comply with it, especially, when there is litigation.

Strict compliance with the Town's policy will avoid formal complaints for ethics violations and will promote open and honest government and improve citizen confidence.

Al Poskanzer

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