McCandless council considering conflict-of-interest rules for appointed positions
McCandless council is considering guidelines for people interested in serving on town boards, commissions and committees to make sure applicants do not profit from the appointments.
“I’ve received some complaints from people who are worried that certain people were applying for committees for personal gain,” council President Kim Zachary said at the Aug. 19 agenda meeting. “I’m not saying that this is even going on, but having something like this in place shows good intent.”
While applicants for volunteer posts are typically asked whether serving would result in a conflict of interest, the town has no policy in place to require such disclosures, Zachary said.
“We don’t have any standards to determine whether there is a conflict,” she said. “Maybe we should have some guidelines.”
If approved, the new conflict-of-interest provisions would be added to policy changes unanimously approved by council in 2016 that require openings for positions on boards, commissions and committees to be advertised for 30 days on the town website and in other publications.
The new appointment policy replaced the town’s long-standing practice of simply asking current members whose terms were scheduled to end if they wish to continue in the position, or tapping residents who previously expressed an interest in serving.
Several council members agreed that formal conflict-of-interest rules could be worth pursuing.
“People shouldn’t be profiting if they are making decisions,” said Councilman Steve Mertz.
Town officials suggested that a local conflict-of-interest policy could be modeled after similar state and county policies, or the ones used for lawyers and certified pubic accountants.
Councilman Bill McKim noted that elected officials are required to reveal their sources of income so “we can evaluate whether they give rise to any conflicts of interest.”
Zachary said enacting a local conflict-of-interest policy “seems like a good thing to have in place to be above reproach.”
She recommended that the new ethics rules approved by Ross Township officials last year, as well as policies used by other municipalities, be considered when McCandless creates its own policy.
“I don’t want these committees to be for people who think they are stepping-off points for financial gain,” she said. “I want them to be for true community servants.”
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, [email protected] or via Twitter .