Hidden Agendas vs. Full Disclosure
By Theodore Sares
Lately I have been hearing a lot about "hidden agendas" and "conflict of interests." I was accustomed to dealing with these "challenges" on a daily basis with my fellow Corporados, but I sure would like to keep them to an absolute minimum in this fine small town, as they generally lead to no good.
Now insofar as our local public officials are concerned, the only way a conflict of interest exists is apparently when the official stands to profit personally by promoting the competing interest in question, in which case he or she abstains and generally does not participate in the decision. When I was a member of the town budget committee, my fellow members always dutifully recused themselves or abstained from the vote when such a situation presented itself. One member had a spouse who worked for the school and she would abstain on the vote for the collective bargaining agreement. Three members who live in Kearsage Village went one step further and abstained on the vote for road betterment. It even cost them the vote. That seemed like the right thing to do and, to their credit, they did it. A member of the planning board who works for one of the town's prominent developers always steps down and sits in the audience when her boss makes a presentation. She removes all doubt.