Former state senator Steve Murphy, a longtime employee of Northern States Power/Xcel Energy, has joined the chorus of those calling for Red Wing Mayor Dennis Egan to quit his new job lobbying for frac sand mining interests as executive director of the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council (a division of the Aggregate and Ready Mix Association of Minnesota).
On Saturday, Southeastern Minnesota's largest daily newspaper, the Rochester Post Bulletin said Egan's choice simple: resign as frac sand lobbyist or step down as mayor.
In City painted with political disdain, Murphy writes to the editors of the Red Wing Republican Eagle:
The recent developments surrounding the mayor of Red Wing and his employment with the sand mining industry as a paid lobbyist are extremely troubling. It matters not how you feel about the issue of frac sand mining or the use of hydraulic fracturing to harvest gas and oil; the distressing concern at hand is both a matter of law and one of integrity.
I cannot claim to be an expert in the matter of conflict-of-interest issues. But, during the dry-cask storage debates of the early ‘90s I was accused of having a “conflict of interest” because of my employment with NSP.
The resulting lawsuit was hauled in front of the Minnesota Supreme Court, where the legal opinion rendered by Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz absolved me of any conflict. In the opinion of the court, the conflict standard was not met due to the fact that I was not making any financial gain — not in retirement payouts or medical plans or hourly pay, nothing. Also, the outcome of the overall nuclear debate, whether or not to shutdown nuclear power in Minnesota, did not impact my employment with NSP.
Neither of these instances holds true in Dennis Egan’s case.
I have heard Egan’s reasoning for not stepping down as mayor. His reasoning is simply ridiculous. . . .
. . . Egan should either immediately resign as mayor of Red Wing or void his contract with the sand mining industry. Not to do so is unethical and a breach of public trust.
Read the rest at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, including the part about how Egan is giving the profession of lobbying itself a black eye. Buzz kill.
The Red Wing mayor's new job was first disclosed in an article by Charley Shaw in Politics in Minnesota; the Mississippi River town's City Council has the controversial appointment on the agenda for its meeting this evening.
Readers unable to attend the 7:00 p.m. meeting can watch it streaming live here (archives here).
A retired fuel technician at the Prairie Island nuclear power plant, Murphy served the Red Wing area from 1993 until his retirement from the legislature in 2010.
Photo: Red Wing, Minnesota.
If you enjoyed reading this post, consider giving a donation via paypal: