Friday, January 06, 2012

Mayor New's Unshared MedHab Affidavit

Leaders charged with governance need to declare the size and nature of financial conflicts of interest.  City staff presented the following slide at the San Angelo City Council meeting on January 3rd.

Staff indicated Mayor Alvin New, a board member and MedHab equity holder, had filed an affidavit.  This information was not shared with the public, thus I assume other City Council members had not seen it.  If he holds "$15,000 of more of the fair market value of the business entity," New has a substantial interest

Not mentioned in the meeting is a conflict of interest questionnaire, required of local officials with board seats and substantial holdings. 

Councilman Kendall Hirschfeld said:
"A lot of good things will come from this, I hope."  Hirschfeld spoke in favor of the project "regardless of who the investors are."
Councilman Paul Alexander offered:
"MedHab will cause other employers to come here...  Fertile ground that's inviting."
Councilman Fredd Adams spoke sagely:
"Fortune favors the bold...  Industry follows industry."
Councilman Johnny Silvas quipped:
"Bring 'em in."
Councilwoman Charlotte Farmer noted:
"This is the first project brought in by COSADC, which should make half cent sales tax voters very happy."

How does $3.6 million in City funded incentives compare to the half cent sales tax that funds economic development efforts?  While the city decimates health care benefits and services, it's growing an economic development Taj Majal.

As most City Council members are businessmen, the gate swung open for them to have a financial stake in new city projects.  This council institutionalized conflicts of interest, which appears in violation of the City Charter and their qualifications for office.  The world seems odder by the day, even in Surprisingly Conflicted San Angelo.

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