2017-10-12 / Views

There’s no conflict, and certainly no compromise

We’d appreciate an opportunity to clear up an apparent misconception over what constitutes a conflict of interest on the part of a public official.

At least we hope it’s a misconception.

We’d like to discuss an accusation tossed at county commissioner Melinda Lautner about her opposition to a proposal to require inspections of private septic systems when they change hands. She’s been accused of taking her stand against inspections for personal gain because she owns and runs a family farm and may own rental property. Such a regulation might impact Ms. Lautner’s personal finances, so she should recuse herself from County Board discussion or action on the issue, the accusation went..

At least that what the chair of the Leelanau County Democratic Party demanded.

This is when politics goes astray.

Whether we or residents agree with Ms. Lautner’s view, it certainly aligns with her political belief of less government and less regulation. It seems quite a stretch to say she would personally benefit from the status quo.

There’s no “conflict of interest” there. And if there was, no commissioner with a home in Leelanau could vote “no” on the issue. Apparently “yes” votes would be allowed.

We had earlier suggested a compromise for private septic regulation that would require inspections on systems within so many feet of a lake, stream or wetland. There’s precedence, as a geographically triggered regulation seems to work for soil erosion permits in the county.

We’ve heard no talk of compromise in the current discussions. One reason may be that personal accusations have taken precedence.

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Who is being political here,

Who is being political here, those who disagree with Lautner or the writer of this article?