In the hours after it became known Thursday afternoon that Brandon City Council wouldn’t pursue conflict of interest charges against Mayor Shari Decter Hirst, a fair amount of flotsam flew with the fallout.
As one piece involved a story in the Brandon Sun, we felt we should set the record straight.
In the Oct. 6, 2010, print edition of the Sun, a story on the previous night’s live, televised mayoral debate reported that incumbent Dave Burgess and candidate Shari Decter Hirst spoke about what boundaries should be in place when council decisions could benefit them directly.
Burgess defended his role in a controversial council vote in which a lucrative land sale deal was awarded to a member of his re-election campaign team, saying he checked with the city clerk prior to any involvement in the decision.
Decter Hirst, meanwhile, said she would respect the Municipal Councils Conflict of Interest Act and recuse herself from any council discussion on the re-development of the Strand Theatre because she owns property in the same city block.
And we have to note — contrary to what’s being said in various forums — that she did just that.
In mid-May, the city clerk’s office sought legal advice with respect to the issue of whether now Mayor Decter Hirst was in a conflict of interest because she participated in meetings of the Renaissance Brandon board of directors, involving discussions about the Strand project.
We note that the Strand project has yet to come to council for consideration.
We also note, with interest, that it was the same city clerk’s office that gave former mayor Burgess conflict advice on the Fleming land deal that gave Decter Hirst the initial OK in regards to the Strand project discussions.
Both issues were very high profile in the community and among city councillors.
A legal opinion wasn’t sought in the Burgess matter, while the clerk’s office did change its mind and called a lawyer with regards to Decter Hirst and the Strand.
We wonder what a lawyer might have said about Burgess and the Fleming land deal.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 9, 2012