Advanced Search

9-7-04 Conflict of Interest Questions in Local Government

Perception is just as bad as legal conflicts.   More transparency in Government and press reports can help with the problem.  AVOC will be doing more articles on Ethics over the next several days. 



September 7, 2004


Citizens and Press Can Help Conflict Problem


By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc.


Recently there have been some press reports on alleged conflicts of interest on the part of local officials.   The press has not done much of that in the last few years.  Concerned citizens have raised questions.   It seems that some of claims may be publicized which can be good for government.


Every local government needs an Ethics Code and every local official needs to be sensitive to the public trust they hold.   Ethics questions do not always involve property and money.   It can involve favor to friends & family and disfavor for the “less loved”.


A model code of ethics is available at the website of the  Association County Commissioners of Georgia http://www.accg.org/Detail.asp?ID=1599&subcategory=null.


AVOC will be doing more articles on Ethics over the next several days.  Perception is just as bad as legal conflicts.   More transparency in Government and press reports can help with the problem.



9-6-04 Oconee BOC Refers Conflict Matter to Planning Commission


The Athens Banner-Herald September 6, 2004



Oconee chair: Planners are diverse

By Mike D'Avria

…………..Citizens for Oconee's Future (Charles Baugh) draws the line whenever someone on the planning commission has a conflict of interest.

Such was the case at the Aug. 16 planning commission meeting, when one of the members discussed and voted on a 134-acre subdivision proposed for a tract adjacent to a piece of land he owns.

The planning commission approved a recommendation to proceed with the subdivision by a 6-2 vote, but County Attorney Daniel Haygood suggested Aug. 31 that the county commission void the recommendation and return the issue to the planning commission for reconsideration.

Haygood said this time, the planning commission member will recuse himself from the discussion and vote on the subdivision proposal.

Baugh said he's glad the county took the possible conflict of interest seriously, and thought the county did the right thing in sending the proposal back for a second recommendation. ……………

9-4-04 Loganville Planning Commissioner Removed For Conduct


The Walton Tribune         September 01, 2004


Planning member ousted

By Joe Dennis


LOGANVILLE — A long-time member of the Loganville Planning Commission was ousted from her position by the City Council Monday morning.

Pam Cown, a commission member for nine years, was unanimously voted out of her position by the City Council for alleged misconduct during planning commission meetings. Under the city’s charter, the Council has the right to remove a person from an appointed office if it deems there is probable cause.

In a heated public hearing that lasted nearly an hour, councilman John Ferrara — Council liaison to the Planning Commission — said Cown had acted improperly in her role when she:

•Improperly addressed planning commission chairman Ed Warren in a May 24 meeting after he asked her to recuse herself from a vote where the city attorney said there might have been a conflict of interest.

•Left that same meeting and never returned, despite other business remaining on the agenda.

Improperly voiced personal comments at a May 3 meeting regarding the rezoning of property on Sharon Church Road; and

Did not attend a May 17 committee meeting at which her role on the commission was discussed…………..


9-4-04 Conflict of Interest Alleged in Oconee Sewer Matter


The Athens Banner-Herald         September 3, 2004



Developer downplays sewer requests' timing

Bogart mayor owns land

By Mike D'Avria


WATKINSVILLE - The developer of a proposed Bogart subdivision said Thursday it was just coincidence that Bogart Mayor Jan Thurmond asked the Oconee County Commission for sewer treatment capacity for her city at the same meeting he sought sewer service for his subdivision - which is planned for a tract of land owned by the mayor.


The commission listened to the two requests for sewer treatment capacity at its Tuesday agenda-setting meeting one right after the other, but both Thurmond and developer George Emami said the two requests have nothing to do with one another.


"I do see how, the way it was presented, and the way everything went down the other night, I certainly see how it looks," Emami said Thursday. "I know the deal ... but I can understand that someone that was there as an observer would perceive things a little differently."


Thurmond spoke to the commission Tuesday and asked to have the city included in the wastewater master plan that county officials might adopt in the next few months. She said the city of Bogart wished to have sewer treatment capacity allocated for its use since it never had it in the past. ………..