In light of campaign signs for Linda Abbott, Dave Crozier, Les Presmyk, and Ben Cooper carrying the endorsement “Paid for By Southwest Ambulance,” Council Member Jenn Daniels suggested that the fact that this contract is now up for approval (last night’s Council meeting) gives the appearance of conflict of interest.
She stated that it has nothing to do with the performance of Southwest Ambulance, because their services have been excellent and of great benefit to the citizens. What is at issue is that Southwest’s independent expenditures and donations appear to compromise the integrity of the Council. She noted that the contract ended 1/31/2011 and yet services have continued. She wondered if there would be any negative impact if the contract extension was delayed until after the general election is over on 5/17/2011.
Fire Chief Jobusch advised that the services will continue as before, but the problem is that the Town will lose revenue from reimbursements, and supplies, as well as from our paramedics sometimes riding the ambulance attending patients. He stated that to wait would cost the Town about $30,000.
Town Attorney Susan Goodwin stated that the mere independent expenditures and donations are not a conflict of interest. Also that, if the 4 Council members recused themselves, there would not be a majority vote with only the other 3 voting.
John Sentz noted that he sees signs around town without anyone owning up to them. In light of all this, the Council voted 7-0 to approve the contract extension.
GW Note: I still wonder: What have the incumbents done for Southwest Ambulance that is so “extra special” that Southwest Ambulance has spent thousands of dollars on their behalf? It’s unseemly at the very least. A candidate doesn’t have to accept donations and can return them.