An ethics complaint filed against City Council member Chad Magill will be resolved in an evidentiary hearing Oct. 6, the city’s Ethics Commission decided Thursday.
The complaint, filed Aug. 31 by resident Kimberly Grassedonio, stated Magill should not have voted on a motion that struck down two utility projects on land annexed by the city in 2014. Grassedonio stated the vote was connected with a proposed wind farm south of the city.
Magill’s employer, Stewart Title, is a specialist in wind title policies and has a business tie with Apex Clean Energy, the company that considered constructing a wind farm on the land in question. Apex Clean Energy has since stated it will not build the wind farm there.
In a written response to the commission about the complaint, Magill contended there was no conflict of interest because the terms “service plan, annexation and wind farm” were not included on the agenda item that Magill voted on Aug. 23. Nor were they in the 383-page capital improvement planning guide. He also stated in his response the vote would not have benefitted him personally.
The commission was torn on whether the complaint included facts that supported the allegation. Vice-chair Karon Connelly didn’t think so.
“The thought process (in the complaint) is there has to be a conflict (of interest) because at one time … the council person had recused (from voting),” she said. “I don’t see anything that tells us those facts are the same at the time that he voted.”
Larry White, another commission member, took a different stance.
“There is some evidence, based on his previous activity, that there is some conflict,” White said. “Whether there’s still a conflict today in 2016, we need a hearing to find out.”
The commission voted 6-2 to dismiss the complaint, but a hearing must be scheduled if the vote isn’t unanimous.
Both Grassedonio and Magill will have the opportunity to present their cases during the October hearing.
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