February 18, 2008
Editorials, Wisconsin

Supervisor should avoid conflict of interest

Calumet County Board Supv. Jerry Criter may have held onto his seat last week, but he needs to watch his step as the county moves forward on the emotionally charged wind turbine issue.

Citizens for Responsible Government Calumet County tried without success to remove Criter from office in a recall election due to what its members saw as a conflict of interest. Understably so.

Criter, a Town of Brothertown farmer, continued to vote on matters tied to the proposed turbines, while also volunteering to lease his land to wind company developers.

He and other landowners who agree to such a deal could earn about $8,000 for every 400-foot turbine their land would support.

There’s nothing wrong with making money and supporting this type of renewable energy, but not at the expense of constituents who are counting on their representatives to act on their behalf.

In July and October, Criter cast votes regarding the wind issues, include one against spending $5,000 for the ad hoc committee members to spend the night near a wind farm to get a realistic sense how loud turbines really are.

While Dist. Atty. Ken Kratz cleared Criter of wrongdoing in a letter several months ago, he also cautioned Criter “that any future action taken in which you have a financial interest may lead to a sanction … or criminal prosecution.”

Criter needs to take this piece of advice to heart. He should recuse himself from all further votes on the wind issue, period.

As the county continues its debate on wind farms, its citizens need more than ever public officials who are keeping their best interest at heart.

If Criter is going to remain on the board, he needs to show his constituents he can be trusted.

Appleton Post-Crescent Editorial

18 February 2008

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2008/02/18/supervisor-should-avoid-conflict-of-interest/