Posted by: Patricia Salkin | May 8, 2011

OR Appeals Court Finds Public Works Director Took Appropriate Steps to Mitigate Conflict

Petitioner sought to have a decision annulled where the public works director who took part in the formation of a local improvement district (LID) owned property within said district. The Court stated that the interested official may have had a statutory obligation to notify the official who appointed her as to the nature of the conflict, who could then dispose of the matter giving rise to the conflict.  It was not clear whether the interested official had an actual or potential conflict, triggering her duty, but she did verbally disclose the conflict to the city council.  However, that was beside the point, as that duty applied to the official and not the city council; what was important in this case was whether the council fulfilled their procedural duty to require disclosure and recusal.  Fulfilling their duty, the city council determined that the interested official had taken steps to mitigate the conflict because she disclosed the conflict orally at a council meeting and delegated her decision making authority to a project manager.  Also, the interested official did not receive any financial benefit from the location of the LID.  Given these facts, and that the petitioner could not point to any procedural violations concerning the LID hearing and the conflict, the court ultimately affirmed the municipality’s determination. 

Bullock v. City of Ashland, 2011 WL 800206 (Or. Ct. App., 2011).

The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A131252.htm


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