Wednesday, May 22, 2013

City leaders should recuse themselves

    This letter is written to express my strong objection to further participation by Sun Valley City Council members Nils Ribi, Franz Suhadolnik and Mayor Dewayne Briscoe in the matter of the proposed augmentations to the intersection of Juniper and Elkhorn roads.  
    There exists no evidence that any other intersection within the city has received the same level of focus and advocacy from the mayor and these council members as this single-intersection location, where they each hold a personal interest.  
    In their Dec. 28 report to the Sun Valley City Council, the street superintendent, assistant chief of police and the community development director verified that the Juniper Road intersection meets the safety compliance standards of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. The signage and illumination at this intersection, including the multi-use path signage, are consistent with other pedestrian crossings in the city, and meet applicable Idaho State statutes.  
    During the January 2013 council meeting, the mayor offered publicly that his “fiancée is renting a house” accessed by Juniper Road, and that he spends a great deal of time there.  Subsequently, during the March 2013 council meeting, Briscoe stated he was recusing himself from the discussion of the intersection, citing “personal and economic reasons.”  
    The conflict Briscoe previously thought he had apparently was transitory as he now claims he no longer holds a conflict. Conflicts of interest do not dissipate so quickly or easily and recommencing his advocacy after recusal causes one to question his partiality.
    Government decisions should be made in the best interests of the public—not on bias for or against a particular citizen or based on a public servant’s own, personal interests. Continued participation in this matter by these three city officials serves to further erode the already tenuous confidence the people have in city of Sun Valley governance.
Suzanne M. Hazlett
Sun Valley

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