Re: "Conflict of interest? SLC mayor names an ally for post," Tribune, April 4:
Christopher Smart’s reporting of Mayor Ralph Becker’s recent nomination of Matt Lymon, the mayor’s ex-campaign manager, to a seat on the Salt Lake City Planning Commission, does raise questions about conflicts of interest, as stated by Councilman Luke Garrott, who is to be complimented for his direct public statement that "It’s not about Matt’s qualifications" but the "appearance" of a conflict.
I would add that it is more than "appearance." Any close personal, professional, ideological and/or financial ties to a potential nominee to a post that directs critical planning and zoning issues should be considered unacceptable.
Rewind to 2008, following the mayor’s announcement to build the Emergency Operations Center on Library Square, (summarily and soundly rejected by the public). In early 2009, the mayor appointed David Hart, of MOCA, as his consultant to "objectively" evaluate a few, previously selected, "potential" sites, and who, following a few arduous public meetings, chose the mayor’s previously-hinted-at "preferred site" on 300 East.
Following public announcement of this decision, Mr. Hart was awarded a lucrative, on-going project management contract. "Perception"? Fool us once!
M. Ray Kingston
Salt Lake City
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