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Asked to recuse from voting

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Guest Susie

A woman who sits on a commission is asked by city manager to recuse herself from voting on a motion that involves another commissioner,  whom she dates. 
 

She was not given a reason. There would be no financial gain for her as a result of the outcome of the vote. She refused to recuse herself and, in fact, voted no on the motion. (It passed 4 to 1) 

Was the request in line with RONR? 
 

 

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Well, it is in line with RONR's recommendation but is not enforceable. However, conflict of interest laws that apply to this city may require this.

RONR says: "ABSTAINING FROM VOTING ON A QUESTION
OF DIRECT PERSONAL INTEREST.
No member should vote on a question in which he has a direct personal or pecuniary interest not common to other members of the organization. For example, if a motion proposes that the organization enter into a contract with a commercial firm of which a member of the organization is an officer and from which contract he would derive personal pecuniary profit, the member should abstain from voting on the motion. However, no member can be compelled to refrain from voting in such circumstances." (p. 407, lines 21-31. Emphasis added)

Edited by Atul Kapur
corrected typo

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Guest Susie

The motion gave him permission  to cut down two trees that blocked  his business signs. These trees line our major streetscape. 
 

The woman thought he should present a landscape replacement plan before being granted to cut down the trees, so she voted No. 

 

 

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How and why she voted are immaterial.

Look at the laws that apply to the city and the commission, and how they define conflict of interest.

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10 hours ago, Atul Kapur said:

Well, it is in line with RONR's recommendation but is not enforceable. However, conflict of interest laws that apply to this city may require this.

RONR says: "ABSTAINING FROM VOTING ON A QUESTION
OF DIRECT PERSONAL INTEREST.
No member should vote on a question in which he has a direct personal or pecuniary interest not common to other members of the organization. For example, if a motion proposes that the organization enter into a contract with a commercial firm of which a member of the organization is an officer and from which contract he would derive personal pecuniary profit, the member should abstain from voting on the motion. However, no member can be compelled to refrain from voting in such circumstances." (p. 407, lines 21-31. Emphasis added)

That is what RONR says, but I think the circumstances of this case are such that it is ambiguous whether it constitutes “a direct personal or pecuniary interest not common to other members of the organization.” It seems to me the member determined that it did not, and I am inclined to defer to her judgment in this matter.

I agree, however, that it would be prudent to see if there is anything in applicable law on this subject.

Edited by Josh Martin

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A remark of this kind during debate on the motion involved is not in order, because it is not germane—that is, it does not have a direct bearing on whether it is advisable to do, or not to do, what the motion proposes.

Is the City Manager, in this instance, even a member of the City Commission? If not (as I suspect), his remarks should be closely monitored by the chair to prevent him from straying from the subject for which he has been given permission to speak.

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