Monday, May 9, 2011

Could UNC's Frayda S. Bluestein and Rita Danish be any more wrong on Robbie Perkins conflict of interest on the White Street Landfill issue?

"Based on the fact presented, it appears that neither of the situations here involves a direct benefit to the board members as defined in the statute.

In the case of Council member Perkins, the issue is whether the relationship with a contractor who also contracts with the company seeking business
with the city is significant enough to influence Perkins’ vote.

Council member Robbie Perkins
is President and 50% part owner of Piedmont Triad Commercial Properties, Inc.

Piedmont Triad Commercial Properties, Inc. has contracted with Henry Carrison.

Mr. Carrison is a former employee of D.H. Griffin Companies
and is currently an independent contractor for Mr. Perkins.

...In 2010, the total payments received by Piedmont Triad Commercial Properties, Inc.
were less than $400.

Why would the city attorney provide such a small snapshot
of the financial relationship between Perkins, Carrison and Griffin?

Doesn't it seem bizarre that the total benefit of all the potential and prior sales
isn't included?

There are currently multiple signs for D.H. Griffin properties
listed by Piedmont Triad.

Facts Provided by City Attorney

It’s unclear whether a vote either way on this contract would affect the relationship; does not appear that the amounts involved would be significant enough to influence the member in voting.

How much could Mr. Carrison make on the listed properties?

If Mr. Carrison were to not work with Piedmont Triad anymore,
how much could the company potentially not make?

How long has Mr. Carrison worked with Piedmont Triad?

The facts presented do not seem to involve a financial interest that is sufficiently extensive or likely to occur to warrant that Perkins be excused.

How much future income does Robbie stand to lose,
if Mr. Carrison were to become upset with Robbie's vote
and leave the company?

How about getting all the facts,
as opposed to the narrow set of facts the city attorney provided?

Council member Matheny, on the other hand is in the position of an employee whose employer may have a significant interest in the success of its business partner.

...he might reasonably be concerned that a vote against D.H. Griffin’s interest would be viewed negatively by his employer.

If Zack "might reasonably be concerned" about a vote against D.H. Griffin,
why wouldn't Robbie be concerned for the same reasons,
if Mr. Carrison could easily walk with all the D.H. Griffin listings?

As noted earlier, the issue is not whether he is personally involved in the joint venture between the two companies, but instead, whether he might be personally at risk financially if his vote displeases his employer.

Could Robbie "be personally at risk financially if his vote displeases his" employee
if Mr. Carrison has "multiple signs for D.H. Griffin"?

I have done my best to assess the extent and likelihood of a financial interest in each situation, based on the facts available.

How about getting all the material facts,
instead of relying on the city attorney,
whose judgement and loyalties seem to be heavily questionable at this point?

Obviously, a change in those facts or the disclosure of additional or different facts could affect the analysis."

Frayda S. Bluestein
Professor of Public Law and Government
Associate Dean for Faculty Development
School of Government
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"(a) public servant...authorized to perform an official action requiring the exercise of discretion,
shall participate in an official action by the employing entity
if the public servant ...may incur a reasonably foreseeable financial benefit
...which financial benefit would impair the public servant's independence of judgment
or from which it could reasonably be inferred
that the financial benefit would influence the public servant's participation in the official action.

...(c) A public servant shall take appropriate steps, remove himself or herself to the extent necessary,
to protect the public interest
...from any proceeding in which the public servant's impartiality might reasonably be questioned
due to the public servant's familial, personal, or financial relationship
with a participant in the proceeding.

§ 138A‑36. Public servant participation in official actions.

"(e1) A member of the board or any other body exercising quasi‑judicial functions
...shall not participate in or vote on any quasi‑judicial matter in a manner
that would violate affected persons' constitutional rights to an impartial decision maker.

Impermissible conflicts include, but are not limited to,
a member having a fixed opinion prior to hearing the matter that is not susceptible to change,
undisclosed ex parte communications, a close familial, business,
or other associational relationship with an affected person,
or a financial interest in the outcome of the matter.

If an objection is raised to a member's participation and that member does not recuse himself or herself,
the remaining members shall by majority vote rule on the objection.

§ 160A‑388.

"Any officer, department head or employee who has financial interest, direct or indirect,
in any proposed contract with the city or in a proposed sale of any land, material, supplies, or services
to the city or to a contractor supplying the city,
shall make known that interest and shall refrain from voting upon
or otherwise participating in the making of such contract or sale.

Any officer, department head, or employee who willfully conceals such a financial interest
or willfully violates the requirements of this Section
shall be guilty of malfeasance in office or position and shall forfeit his office or position.

Violation of this Section with the knowledge
expressed or implied of the person or corporation contracting with or making a sale to the city
shall render the contract void."

Sec. 4.131. - Conflict of interest: Greensboro Code of Ordinances, City Charter

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Perkins needs to do whats best for all taxpayers of Greensboro and not just East Greensboro!