Sunday, February 18, 2007
Residents should expect high ethical standards from public officials, and refusing gifts of any sort should be at the top of our expectation list. When City Council members violate the public trust, it is, at best, disappointing.
But the recent criticism by former City Council members is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. Their past self-serving behavior makes Ken Brenner's nine holes of golf pale by comparison.
Paul Hughes, former city manager, negotiated a very hefty retirement package with City Council before announcing his retirement. Ultimately, he took an even earlier retirement with substantial compensation, and then applied for unemployment compensation. Now, we read that he also asked about golf passes, just like Ken.
While on City Council, Bud Romberg approved a deed-restricted affordable housing project and then purchased one of the lots for personal profit. At a time when residential lots in Steamboat Springs were selling for more than $100,000, he paid $65,000.
Kathy Connell was notorious for refusing to "step down" on items that came before City Council that directly profited her resort property management business. Although she was asked to refrain from voting, she refused and cast the deciding vote to establish a Local Marketing District to raise $1.2 million from taxpayers for airline subsidies that would save her company thousands of dollars.
Some of the former council members who have come forward should have little to say about ethical behavior, as it has not been their forte in the past.
I don't believe these people are as concerned with ethical behavior as they are with who may be elected to council this fall. Or perhaps other more devious motives are at work. It wouldn't surprise me.
Loretta Van Norstrand