City attorney says Felsted OK to run; McAloon revisits earlier comments that candidate's business ties create a conflict
Pullman City Attorney Laura McAloon said after a meeting with City Council hopeful Devon Felsted she has determined there would be no conflict of interest if Felsted is elected.
"The information he gave me is that he doesn't have any ownership in the company, despite the fact that he's the president," she said. "It sure doesn't sound to me that it's a problem, but it's something that Devon as a candidate" would have to address.
On Friday, McAloon said Felsted's role as president of Pullman Disposal likely would be a conflict of interest if he were elected to the council's Ward 3 seat because the company, owned by his family, received too much money from the city for its services. She said a state code of ethics statute pertaining to municipal officers restricts a city from working or exchanging money with an elected official on a business level for more than $18,000 per year.
Pullman Disposal is the only garbage hauling company in Pullman and the city pays about $45,000 a year for the service.
McAloon said after talking with Felsted at length Tuesday she determined there would be no conflict of interest if he were to become councilman, because he has no beneficial interest in the company with no stocks or monetary investment. If he had a financial interest in the company, Felsted would have to divest his interest in the company or the city would have to find a new garbage service, if Felsted were to be sworn in to a city council position, she said.
Felsted has five months to prepare for the election and in the interim, McAloon said "it's going to be up to Devon to demonstrate what his relationship is" with Pullman Disposal.
Felsted said he is treated as any normal employee of the company.
"(McAloon) doesn't see there is any conflict, because I don't own an stock and my pay isn't tied to any performance," he said. "She was using that as a rational. I don't have any 'beneficial interest' as she called it."
Felsted said he understands some community members may still argue that because the company is family owned, his role as president would be a conflict. If too many voters have that opinion, Felsted said he would step down.
"I would resign," he said. "It's not worth it to me impugn my credibility or my reputation. It's much more important for me to have a good reputation than fight this."
For now, Felsted will move forward with his candidacy. Incumbent Ward 3 Councilman David Stiller is not running for re-election.
"I'm just proceeding on," he said. "I'm back to the high-stress City Council life."
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Just When We Thought He Was Out, They Pull Him Back In
Devon Felsted's on-again/off-again Pullman City Council candidacy appears to be back on for now. From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News: