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The Way I See It!

I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.

A Wal-Mart Hypothetical

Cudahy, Wal-Mart

First, let us put two things to rest.

 

One – If the KRM rail happens, it truly is for transporting people back and forth from work to home; only 1% is speculated to be tourist.  Those that state its main purpose is for tourism are putting out propaganda.

 

Two – Since people will be using the KRM rail for back and forth to work, don’t you shop before and after work?  So having Wal-Mart would be good for the KRM riders, since they would be no different then most people driving cars and stopping off to pickup Milk or Socks.

 

Now on to the hypothetical….

 

I hope that there are “NO” conflicts of interest in the parties involved making the decisions on the Wal-Mart and Cudahy Station.  Like someone related to another interested developer or the fact that someone related works for Wal-Mart’s competition and has swayed or could sway the vote.  If there is a conflict, please let us know.  Don’t let us find out on the sly or after the fact.  Be forth coming and recuse yourself.  Letting conflicts of interest dictate the outcome, that is the old way, and the people of Cudahy deserve better.  If it has already happen and the person(s) did not declare nor step forward, we may have a big mess on our hands.  I don’t want to have to pay anymore litigation.  (Referring to Case # 2004CV008504)

 

Council members have a right to abstain from voting, if they choose to do so.  In this situation, where no conflict of interest or other ethical concern exists, the member may participate in discussion.  In such an instance, it is advisable to explain the reason for the abstention.

 

Our nation’s founders had the wisdom and foresight to build checks and balances into our system of governance to protect us.  Have the checks and balances been checked at the door when it comes to local government or are they still there?  Transparency and accountability are the most important to the legitimacy of local officials.  Hopefully, the oversight was not overlooked.

 

 Trust, but verify. - Ronald Reagan

I don’t have proof nor am I accusing anyone.  I will give a hypothetical example. 

 

Let us say someone in the decision-making process said, "Cudahy will never get a Wal-Mart as long as my mom works at K-Mart or Store X!”  Would that help to show everyone why they voted against it?  I guess the thought would be that if Wal-Mart came in and K-Mart or Store X didn’t do well and closed it doors, that MOM would be without a job.  Isn’t that called job protection?  That would show a propensity for personal gain over the community.  

 

YES! 

 

Shortsighted and irresponsibleness is only seeing what is best for me and would be unethical to the oath they took.  If they did this, they need to be removed from office or their position.  An investigation would need to follow. 

 

The people that hold these positions of power should not and cannot allow personal conflicts of interest to arise.  If this Wal-Mart would get voted down and any type of information like that would make it into the hands of the big bad Wal-Mart or Wave lawyers they would have a field day. 

 

If this were to be true, the Mayor and parties would have the responsibility to act accordingly.  The improper use of influence, power, or other means for private gain is called corruption.  This may even border on a criminal act.  This is a serious matter! 

 

Of course, I am speaking all hypothetically.

  

The state statutes contain minimum standards of ethical conduct by local government officials.  The statutes relating to ethics and conflicts of interest are interrelated and can be quite complicated.

 

Problems in this area can be avoided primarily by using common sense and applying the "smell test.”  Stated broadly, when an official, a member of the official's family or a business organization with whom the official is associated is involved in a municipal matter, the official needs to step back and question whether there are problems concerning his or her involvement in the matter.  The official may want to discuss the situation with the municipal attorney.  Local officials may also contact the League's attorneys to discuss ethics issues.

 

II. State Code of Ethics for Local Government Officials

(Sec. 19.59, Stats.)

 

Use of Office for Private Gain.  Public officials are prohibited from using their offices to obtain financial gain or anything of substantial value for the private benefit of themselves, their immediate families, or organizations with which they are associated.  Sec. 19.59(1)(a), Stats.

 

Taking Action Affecting a Matter in Which Official Has Financial Interest.  Local officials may not take official action substantially affecting a matter in which the official, an immediate family member, or an organization with which the official is associated has a substantial financial interest.  Nor may an official use his or her office in a way that produces or assists in the production of a substantial benefit for the official, immediate family member or organization with which the official is associated.  Sec. 19.59(1)(c), Stats.

 
 Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them. - Ronald Reagan  

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