Questions still remain over recent concerns about “conflict of interest” within city and county government. As I was first to report in a Clarksville Online exclusive, Conflict of interest questions still unanswered in county government, the question first arose with local architect Jerry Clark who at the time was a board member of the Regional Airport Authority.
In a meeting with County Mayor Carolyn Bowers, City Mayor Kim McMillan, and Montgomery County Accounts and Budgets Director Erinne Hester, Clark was informed that due to the County Purchasing Act of 1957, there could be a potential conflict of interest of him serving on that board, and his firm, Clark and Associates, doing business with the county.
It basically states that anyone doing business with the county, could not serve on any boards or commissions, and while there has been opinions rendered on both sides of the law, Jerry Clark chose to resign from the Airport Authority to prevent any conflct, and the county chose to take the other position.
Meanwhile, people are ” dropping like flies” from their committees, boards and commissions. It’s a disaster that needs to be fixed.
In a previous report, More resignations over controversial law regarding conflict of interest, I reported on an apparent conflict involving CDE Board Chairman Wayne Wilkinson. Wilkinson is a partner in a commercial real estate company in Clarksville, NAI Clarksville. He said, “my firm is not doing business with the city at this time, and if the issue arises in the future, I will evaluate it at that time.”
Since that report, several other prominent citizens have resigned from their service. Attorney Larry Rocconi resigned from the Regional Planning Commission to avoid his law firm from being banned from doing business with the city. Others have resigned from the Parking Authority, Design and Review Board, Board of Zoning Appeals and the Two Rivers Company. Business people like Frank Lott, of BLF Marketing, Charlie Foust of the Clarksville Foundry, Scott Giles, Jane Olsen, Jeff Robinson and others.
I mean, who wants to jeopardize their livelyhood to volunteer for their community? Why should they have to even MAKE that choice? They shouldn’t be put in that position.
But, why does the situation apply to some, but not others? This is what some people want to know. Why haven’t both mayors met with every potential conflict of interest to discuss their situation? Why was Jerry Clark the only one to get that treatment? Why have some people resigned, while others continue to serve?
For example. Steve Strohman, who works for Batson Nolan Pearson Miller & Joiner law firm, serves on the Executive Committee of the EDC board, and will be the Chairman of the Conventions and Visitors Bureau Board in 2012. The law firm he works for does a lot of business with county government. Dick Batson is the attorney for the Industrial Development Board. Jill Nolan is the School Board attorney, and Austin Peay VII is the county attorney. All of them fine people, but why is THAT not a conflict of interest? Did mayor’s Bowers and McMillan meet with Dick Batson? Why not? Is it up to each individual? It’s crazy.
If Larry Rocconi can’t serve on the Planning Commission because his firm does business with the city, and Jerry Clark can’t serve on the Airport Authority Board because his firm does business with the County, then why can Strohman continue in his current role, while the law firm he works for is doing so much business with the county?
I don’t care if it “quacks” or not. At this point, it doesn’t even LOOK like a duck.
These are all really fine people, working hard for their community, and they shouldn’t be put in such a position. Can you imagine not having people like this in Clarksville? It’s ridiculous.
It also appears that some people are taking advantage of this situation to promote an agenda. The rumor mill is “running wild” with speculation, while SOME people are just running for cover. I don’t like it. It’s embarassing. As a businessman, I HAVE to make important decisions each and every day. I can’t just sit back and wait on someone else’s opinion.
I long for the good old days when decisions were made, then we waited for the Leaf Chronicle to tell us if they were right or wrong.
Just my opinion.