[ exact phrase in "" • results by date ]

[ Google-powered • results by relevance ]


News Home

Subscribe to RSS feed

Add NWW headlines to your site (click here)

Sign up for daily updates

Keep Wind Watch online and independent!

Donate $10

Donate $5

Selected Documents

All Documents

Research Links


Press Releases


Publications & Products

Photos & Graphics


Allied Groups

Fairhaven selectman can vote on turbine issues, lawyer says  

Credit:  By ARIEL WITTENBERG | www.southcoasttoday.com 4 July 2012 ~~

FAIRHAVEN – Selectman Bob Espindola does not have a conflict of interest when it comes to the town’s existing wind turbines and should be allowed to vote on related issues, an attorney hired by the Board of Selectmen has determined.

Before he ran for office, Espindola and 22 others sued the town in an effort to shut down the town’s two wind turbines located at the wastewater treatment facility. Espindola dropped out of the suit when he decided to run but his initial involvement raised questions as to whether the turbines would affect the property value of his home, thus giving him a conflict of interest.

Lauren Goldberg, an attorney for the Boston-based law firm Kopelman and Paige, wrote Espindola last week that “your previous involvement in the wind turbine lawsuit does not in and of itself create a financial interest.”

“You would not be prohibited from participating in matters involving the existing wind turbines,” she wrote.

Goldberg’s letter has been reviewed by the State Ethics Commission, which approved Goldberg’s advice.

“I concur with the conclusions you stated,” Commission General Counsel Deirdre Roney wrote in a letter to Goldberg.

Goldberg does suggest in her letter that Espindola file a disclosure form with the Fairhaven town clerk stating his original involvement with the lawsuit in order to avoid future ethical dilemmas.

“The section states that it is unreasonable to conclude that a state or municipal employee has acted (out of self interest) if the employee has disclosed in writing … the facts that would otherwise lead to such a conclusion,” she wrote.

Espindola said he is pleased with the advice.

“I’m glad to have this statement behind me,” he said. “It’s not good or bad, necessarily, but it’s clarity.”

Selectmen Chairman Brian Bowcock, who previously argued that Espindola should not participate in turbine-related votes, said Tuesday he still believes Espindola “probably shouldn’t participate” but “it’s not my job to enforce the rules.”

“They say it’s self-policing, so if he votes and he still has a conflict, that’s his problem,” he said.

The letter leaves Espindola the option to recuse himself from discussions.

Espindola, who had been recusing himself from turbine-related votes until he heard back from the attorney, would not say whether he would now participate in more votes.

“You can’t anticipate every scenario that comes up,” he said. “When things come up that are specific, I’ll make that judgment at that time and refer to this guidance and use it accordingly.”

Source:  By ARIEL WITTENBERG | www.southcoasttoday.com 4 July 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding
Donate $5 PayPal Donate


News Watch Home

Get the Facts Follow Wind Watch on Twitter

Wind Watch on Facebook


© National Wind Watch, Inc.
Use of copyrighted material adheres to Fair Use.
"Wind Watch" is a registered trademark.