Well, it doesn't matter whether you go to Washington, D.C. or stay right here in Sioux Falls, SD. Some people just let their common sense and sense of ethics fly out the window. I think it is because some of these elected officials feel they have become special people, all knowing, granted a mandate by the people who voted them into office and entitled to special treatment. Egos grow by leaps and bounds. Arrogance crops up.
It is pretty heady business to have people want to see you, talk to you, give you special attention and recognition once you become a public official. The fact is an elected official gets the special attention and recognition because someone wants something from them and the only way to get the support or approval is to kiss some arse to someone who now thinks they are more important than snot.
City Councilor Entenman seems to have lost his way. First he stands up at a Public Services Committee Meeting and speaks in opposition to adopting the 2010 census for establishing a city liquor license when he is next on the list to get a liquor license. When discreetly told he may have a conflict of interest, he waves away Councilor Jamison and publicly states he doesn't care if he has a conflict of interest or not and just keeps on speaking.
I guess he thought he solved his little conflict of interest when he subsequently withdrew his liquor license application. KELO-TV reports Council member Jim Entenman owns the land right across the street from a proposed parking lot for a new facility at the arena site.
"No, it will not influence my vote," Entenman said. "I think I've been on the record all along that I've been in favor of an events center out at the current convention center site."......... This property is not for sale, it belongs to my family and it's used for our business," Entenman said.
That's not the point.
Sec. 12½-29. Definitions in this article.Financial interest means an expectation of receiving a pecuniary benefit. A financial interest of an official includes any financial interest of a member of that person's immediate family. A person has a financial interest in an organization in which that person has an ownership interest, or is a director, officer or employee. An official has a financial interest in a decision if a financial interest of that person will vary with the outcome of the decision. A financial interest does not include the following:
(1) A personal or financial interest which is not of the magnitude that would exert an influence on an average, reasonable person.
(2) A personal or financial interest of a type which is generally possessed by the public or a large class of persons to which that official belongs.
(3) An action or influence which would have an insignificant or conjectural effect on the matter in question.
Sec. 12½-30. Conflicts of interest--City council members.City officials shall not:
(1) Participate or vote in matters in which they have a direct or indirect financial interest in any contract with the city.
(3) Participate or vote in any other matters in which they may have a direct or indirect financial interest, or in which an immediate family member has a direct or indirect financial interest.
I recognize that maybe he thinks he doesn't have a conflict interest because he always wanted the EC at the Arena/Convention site which would enhance the value of his property as per the consultant reports.
Maybe the City Attorney and the Ethics Board should way in on this issue. After all, he started this by standing up to testify publicly before the City Council's Public Services Committee as a private citizen who was requesting a liquor license for his private business. Then he put on his councilor cap and stated he wanted the committee to hold more hearings at the committee level before sending it the full council. The question is -- should the councilor recuse himself from all votes pertaining to this subject?