"Time comes to set government straight
…Guilford County Commissioners Chairman Melvin "Skip" Alston
recused himself from voting back in December
when his board included a Greensboro hotel project on a list of proposals
approved for federal bond financing
-- then continued to advocate on its behalf with other elected officials
while he was acting as a real-estate broker for the deal.
If North Carolina truly wants to reduce opportunities for elected officials
to use their power to win public support for projects
through which they personally profit, it must enact tough new conflict-of-interest laws.
One suggestion: If an elected official has a financial connection to a project,
then that project should be ineligible for public support of any kind.
This must be backed by strict financial disclosure reporting by elected officials,
with heavy penalties for violations.
…holding public office requires a person to serve the public interest first, not his own.
…the Alston matter strengthens the point that only a commissioner elected countywide
should be eligible to serve as chairman.
The most powerful official in Guilford County
should be directly accountable to all the voters of the county,
not just those in one district representing roughly 10 percent of the population
…Are leaders really trying to do their best for the state or for themselves and their cronies?
Who's looking out for the interests of the people…?
…Local government authorities also owe it to their constituents
to enforce integrity and honest dealings in all their practices.
Business as usual is not acceptable."
Greensboro News & Record