Online at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, Danielle Killey reports in Council wants more information on mayor’s sand group involvement:
The Red Wing City Council will have an independent investigator gather more facts surrounding Mayor Dennis Egan’s involvement with the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council.
City Council members voted Monday to initiate the investigation, to be done by someone outside the city organization. The issue was put before the City Council because of concerns about a conflict of interest raised by members and the community, Council President Lisa Bayley said. . . .
City attorney Jay Squires said right now there is no legal conflict of interest. Council members generally agreed, but some said perceived conflict is key.
“What I see is the public confidence has been so severely shaken,” Bayley said, adding “I just don’t see how these two positions are compatible.”
“My main concern is one of perceived corruption,” said Hay Creek resident Amy Nelson, a member of Save the Bluffs. . . .
. . . Council members said while there likely is not a legal conflict of interest right now, there are other concerns.
“I do not believe this has come down to a legal conflict, but I believe it has come down to an ethical conflict,” Council member Mike Schultz said.
“We have a significant perception of conflict of interest, whether or not it indeed meets the legal definitions,” Council member Peggy Rehder said.
It's understandable that the City Council is thinking about instances in city governance--say appointments to the town's economic development commission or port authority where the sand mining industry might have interests. Bluestem wonders how things will work for Mayor Dennis Egan when he shows up to lobby,since he's not inclined to choose between his livelihood or being mayor.
Will legislators see him because he's a lobbyist? Or because he's Mayor of Red Wing? These "best practices" are curious things in light of public virtue, especially when the city council just resolved to let St. Paul know it supports state-wide efforts to study and mitigate effects of frac sand mining.
Here's the memo from the Red Wing City Attorney:
Photo: Pretty Red Wing, Minnesota.
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