Is There A Conflict Of Interest ?

  Well it would seem as if we have entered into the silly season. No not NASCAR’s.

  Politics!

  On Thursday it was reported on WGMD that local Lewes resident Ernesto Lopez would be seeking election in the newly created 6th state Senatorial District of Delaware as a Republican. The 6th has recently been moved to Sussex County thanks to the census of 2010. Mr. Lopez plans on making an official announcement in the spring of 2012.

  Mr. Lopez is currently employed as an Extension Specialist in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UD. Okay I’ll ask it first, do we need another state employee in the legislature? Some are already talking about double dipping and a conflict of interest. I have to say that I think that this is a question worth asking.

  Some may remember not so long ago my writing about the case of Sen. Joe Booth being hired as a liaison between Sussex Tech. and the business community. I was extremely critical of Mr. Booth for not disclosing that he was being considered for the position, while at the same time being involved in a hotly contested GOP primary.

  In the case of Mr. Booth I felt that important information had been withheld from the voters. If Mr. Booth seeks re-election he will no doubt need to defend his state employment while being a sitting member of the General Assembly.

  The same can be said of Mr. Lopez. Since he is currently employed with the state, the voters will have every opportunity to discuss and hear his defense on the topic. It will ultimately be the voters who decide whether there is, or is not, a conflict of interest. And that is as it should be.

  In a related story, the report of Mr. Lopez’s intentions forced the hand of another person who has intentions of seeking election in the 6th District also. This person is also a Republican of some notoriety.

  It is the current GOP Sussex County Executive Committee Chairman,former candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives,and former Reagan appointee, Glen Urquhart.  I spoke with Mr. Urquhart after being told that he had announced his intentions to seek the seat within the 6th District. Mr. Urquhart confirmed, that yes, he had mentioned it on the Bill Colley Show on WGMD on Thursday night.

  During our conversation I expressed my concern that there is also a conflict of interest in having a chairman who is also a candidate. I asked Mr. Urquhart when we could expect his resignation as chairman of the committee. Mr. Urquhart assured me that he wished to see a smooth transition. But that he might remain chairman up until the time he actually files the formal documents for candidacy.

  I expressed my desire, and that of many I am sure, that we be able to handle this as soon as possible. So that the Executive Committee could find its new chairman and focus on the task at hand. The 2012 elections.

 It has been brought to my attention that the position of chairman must be publicized for sixty days before an election can be held. This means that if Mr. Urquhart resigned today, we would still be looking at possibly March at the earliest of having a new chairman. This means May before we could focus solely on the election of officials outside of the party machine, instead of those within the party.

  I would also express my concern for those within the Committee who might wish to support Mr. Lopez now. But who may feel uncomfortable in doing so with a chairman who is also an opponent of their candidate. This is clearly a conflict for Mr. Urquhart and the rest of the Committee of which I am a member.

  I am sure Mr. Urquhart will want to remove this obstacle as soon as possible for the good of the party and for all those involved. He can then focus on his own campaign, and the Committee can focus on all the campaigns as it should.

 

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