Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

November 14, 2012

Councilman claims he did not violate conflict of interest with vote Nov. 5

By Michael Schaffer - Managing editor
Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — Centerville City Councilman Randy Marcussen Monday afternoon said he was well within his right to vote on a motion to have the city purchase a new street pole with a light and place it near the street in the 900 block of Woodland View Drive. The motion was approved by the city council 3-2 during their Nov. 5 meeting.

According to a Nov. 8 email received by the city from the Iowa League of Cities, Marcussen technically did not violate a conflict of interest.

"This issue doesn’t seem to fall under the law since the council member isn’t getting any monetary benefit or doing business with the city," Mickey Shields, assistant director of membership services, wrote in the email. "Also, since street light poles are part of regular city operations and can add public safety, I don’t think this is an extraordinary item for the council member to have voted upon. So, in a strict legal sense, I think it is appropriate for the council member to have voted."

But Shields would go on to write, in his personal opinion, if there is a question over potential conflict of interest the councilman should "announce the potential conflict and decide publicly whether he/she will abstain from voting."

It is possible three homeowners in the 900 block of Woodland View Drive would benefit from a new street light placed at the street, according to one of the homeowners.

The amount of light would depend on where the pole is located and the type of light used.