Loretta Van Norstrand: Devious motives?

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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

Steamboat Springs

Comments

marathon 7 years, 7 months ago

Divert, descredit and smear - welcome back Loretta. Our town sure knows your smear tactics of the last elections and we are so happy you are back to keep the real issues at hand at bay. Doesn't seem like your hate has lessened any, heck it must be because you still live out there in the county. Everyone knows how closely you worked with Ken on smearing his opponents, here you are again - divert, descredit and smear! Thank you to those citizens to brought the questions and issues before the public, don't mind that Loretta doesn't want you to question her man.

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elphaba 7 years, 7 months ago

Loretta - You should know - as you'd be the first to smear and and slander anyone you disagreed with for hiding a gift. The issue here is not the pass. If Ken believed he deserved the pass he shouldn't have turned it back in. His doing so reinforces his unethical behavior i.e. "he didn't get away with it". DISCOLSURE DISCLOSURE DISCOLOSURE. No one can view their own actions in a pure light. The entire Council should be making the decisions as to these gifts, but of course, Ken and his puppets Susan, Towny and Karen would nod their puppet heads and agree that Ken should have all the perks and junkets he wants. How would they make decisions without him pulling their strings? We need a Council that can think for themselves and mostly a Council that has the ability to think!

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id04sp 7 years, 7 months ago

Disclosure applies to business interests which could be aided by an issue a public official effects with his vote.

Acceptance of any substantial gift from an entity with an interest in decisions made by a public official is just plain FORBIDDEN.

You may not be able to divest yourself of a business interest (like your wife's brother owns a paving company that bids on a county contract), and should refrain from voting on issues that can provide a benefit to the business.

You certainly CAN refuse to take a gift worth $1,500. You can also refrain from volunteering for an organizataion whose interests are tied up with government business.

Every federal government employee who has a role in making financial decisions for the government is required to disclose financial conflicts of interest. Also, they are forbidden from taking anything of more than $50 value, total, in a single year from a contractor doing business with the government. This includes donuts, key chains, coffee and even a single dinner out on the town.

The Colorado state legislature has dealt with the same issues and codified them in the statutes. Accepting a ski pass would be a no-no for any government official. Period. If he wants to earn a ski pass by volunteering, then he should resign the government position. Period. To do otherwise is to breach his fiduciary duty under state law.

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WZ4EVER 7 years, 7 months ago

Right on, bugman....Loretta was behind the worst negative smears we've ever seen in Steamboat, and I guess here we go again. Even Towny, who seems like a nice guy, was in the mud slinging up to his neck. Let's hope we can do better. Get a clue, Loretta.

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