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Woodside seeks residents' help to re-examine town ethics code

Original post made on Apr 19, 2017

In the wake of a months-long investigation of a town volunteer, the Woodside Town Council is looking for residents interested in participating in a series of facilitated group discussions to re-examine the town's ethics code for elected and appointed officials and decide whether changes are needed.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 8:20 AM

Comments (10)

Posted by Let's not mislead
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 19, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Contrary to the Almanac's statement above, the investigation did not raise questions about perceived conflicts of interest when a council member has a client with business before the Town. The subject of the investigation, Nancy Reyering, raised these questions as a way of justifying her behavior, which the investigation found was in violation of 5 of the Town's ethics rules.

The Town follows state law in allowing Council Members, members of the Planning Commission, and members of ASRB who are architects or contractors to continue to practice in Town. The state rules do not allow these volunteers to represent their projects personally in front of the various boards or interact with Town staff, and require them to have employees represent them in these situations.

In any case why would the Town not want practicing professionals who have an understanding of the planning process and have been subject to the same ASRB overreach to serve on these boards? At least that way they understand what the rest of us have had to go through.


Posted by awatkins
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Apr 19, 2017 at 4:31 pm

"Let's Not Mislead" corrects and clarifies David Boyce's incorrect reporting rather well. But to clarify further the history of the conflict of interest issue: Nancy Reyering went considerably beyond "raising a question" and in fact directly and publicly accused council member Peter Mason of a conflict of interest violation but never provided the tiniest shred of evidence for that accusation.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: That wasn't Dave's reporting, but a sentence I inserted. I modified it slightly to say in the course of the investigation, questions were raised about perceived conflicts of interest. - Richard Hine.]


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Apr 19, 2017 at 5:30 pm

I continue to be appalled at the way this entire incident was handled. There are often disagreements among volunteers, but a lot of pain and heartache, not to mention, money, could have been saved by putting all parties in a room and discussing the issues and conflicts with a mediator. There is no excuse to treat a VOLUNTEER resident in this manner and I am ashamed that my taxes were used for this nasty goose chase.


Posted by Let's not mislead
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 19, 2017 at 6:05 pm

Richard (Almanac Editor)

I am surprised that you as The Editor would insert a misleading sentence like this. Changing your sentence from "the investigation raised questions about perceived conflicts of interest" to "in the course of the investigation, questions were raised about perceived conflicts of interest" is not enough of a modification to be accurate or fair.

This shows a pattern of reporting by the Almanac that chooses sensationalism over informing your readership. This approach does not serve our community. It should not be left to us to correct you.


Posted by Retired Realtor
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 20, 2017 at 7:37 am

The town did not raise this important concern: Reyering did. The Almanac has lost the plot and neither Richard's original senetence nor the passive re-construction in the second is correct. The town tried to create a smoke screen around the issue by attacking Reyering.

It is only belatedly, and thanks to a brave volunteer, that Woodside's council of deplorables (present and past - speaking about you, Burow) is belatedly going to look into the unconstitutional and punitive "guidelines" that were used to attack a longtime and honored volunteer.


Posted by Richard Hine
editor of The Almanac
on Apr 20, 2017 at 8:52 am

Richard Hine is a registered user.

The story was and is correct.

One of the ethical issues raised in the investigation, which included testimony by Nancy Reyering, was whether there is a problem with the appearance of a conflict of interest when a member of the council has a client with a proposed project before the town.


Posted by Yawn
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 20, 2017 at 8:58 am

@Retired Realtor

Oh Nancy. Nancy, Nancy, Nancy...


Posted by Afraid of ASRB
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 20, 2017 at 9:59 am

"I continue to be appalled at the way this entire incident was handled. There are often disagreements among volunteers, but a lot of pain and heartache, not to mention, money, could have been saved by putting all parties in a room and discussing the issues and conflicts with a mediator. There is no excuse to treat a VOLUNTEER resident in this manner and I am ashamed that my taxes were used for this nasty goose chase."



It is a matter of public record that Nancy Reyering created this issue by her conduct on the ASRB. Reyering was counseled previously but refused to modify her behavior, so to suggest mediation as a solution is to ignore the fact that it was previously done.

Reyering could further have avoided this pain, heartache and money spent by listening to the people she serves, the taxpayers, who continually provided unsatisfactory feedback all the way to the voting booth.

To reign in a "VOLUNTEEER" who was abusing her authority was long overdue in finally listening to the taxpayers. The town had a duty to respond and did so.


Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 21, 2017 at 8:14 am

pogo is a registered user.

"It is a matter of public record that Nancy Reyering created this issue by her conduct on the ASRB. Reyering was counseled previously but refused to modify her behavior, so to suggest mediation as a solution is to ignore the fact that it was previously done."

PERFECTLY SAID.


Posted by Let's not mislead
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 21, 2017 at 11:17 am

I didn't realize that the Almanac editor is prone to making changes to articles like this so I compared the article in this week's newspaper, written by Dave Boyce, to the on-line version written by Dave Boyce with what we now know to be inserts by the editor.

Very interesting, as the editor added the following for the on-line article (and then modified it slightly when challenged about the accuracy of the reporting):

"The investigation raised questions about the perceived conflict of interest when a council member has a client with business before the town.

These are among the issues the new ethics committee may examine."

Comparison of the 2 articles made me wonder why the editor added this section - presumably he could have asked Dave Boyce to include this issue in the original article. The following reasons occurred to me:

1. the editor has a bias not shared by Dave Boyce - disturbing.
2. the editor wished to shape the story on-line - more disturbing.
3. the editor wished to shape the on-line story to create more engagement by on-line readers = more comments = more hits per page = numbers look good to advertisers - much more disturbing.

Of course this is speculation but I am now wondering if these kinds of inserts by the editor are regularly made to on-line articles like some kind of Town Square cattle prod.

Pay attention readers.

ps. Wonder if any of my comments here will be removed as "objectionable content".


[EDITOR'S NOTE: I added the sentence because it is a relevant point. The mayor is asking for residents' help to re-examine the town's ethics code. One of the ethics questions that emerged from the investigation, which included testimony by Nancy Reyering, is whether there is a problem with the appearance of a conflict of interest when a member of the Town Council has a client who has a proposed project before the town. ]


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