News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

October 10, 2012

EDITORIAL: Serious issue of integrity

Commission needs to work hard to restore credibility

TERRE HAUTE — When the Vigo County Area Plan Commission meets Nov. 7, it should once again remind itself, and recommit itself, to maintaining a high standard of ethics in its deliberations and voting.

In doing so, it should acknowledge that conflicts of interest large or small, or even perceived conflicts, are important matters. None should be brushed aside. The credibility and integrity of this arm of self-government is at stake.

The Plan Commission took a major hit in recent months upon the revelation that one of its members — Norm Froderman — had a financial stake in Cobblestone Crossings when he voted on its expansion plans. Those plans came into vigorous dispute when homeowners in the Woodgate subdivision discovered that changes in the development would impact the upscale housing area in ways they did not anticipate, and that a sudden change of zoning allowed apartment buildings to be constructed stunningly close to some Woodgate properties.

Eventually, a group of Woodgate homeowners challenging the development learned about Froderman’s potential conflict and asked specifically about it during a commission meeting. That’s when Froderman acknowledged the conflict.

The Vigo County commissioners and Planning Department took immediate and appropriate action to stop the development and require Cobblestone to return before the plan commission to re-apply for zoning changes. The stop-work order has since been lifted after Cobblestone reached an agreement with the homeowners group to construct a wall between properties. But zoning issues remain.

In the wake of Froderman’s tardy disclosure and subsequent county actions, planning department director Jeremy Weir reminded commissioners that they need to recuse themselves from taking part in matters in which they have a financial stake or may be biased or influenced by someone or something else.

Members of the Woodgate group, however, suggest an even more aggressive approach. They suggest commission members answer a roll call each meeting that asks specifically if they have conflicts on any matters on the agenda that day.

While that exercise would normally be cumbersome and unnecessary, current circumstances are far from normal. The integrity of the commission has been damaged. This would be one small way it could begin to recover public credibility. It should be seriously considered.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Urinator Causes Portland to Flush Reservoir Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees Pope's Relic on Wheels Departs to Rome Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast Raw: Pro-Russian Militants Killed on Base Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes
NDN Video
Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Florida State Ends Top Of the 5th With Bizarre Play vs Jacksonville | ACC Must See Moment Kate Upton Loves Her Body, Every Part Of It Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1 WATCH: Women Fight To Marry Prince Harry! Jenny McCarthy Engaged to "New Kid" Kate and Will Land in Oz O’Reilly Launches Preemptive Strike Against CBS Pixar Unveils Easter Eggs From its Biggest Movies Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video Miley Cyrus Hospitalized After Severe Reaction To Medicine Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Toddler climbs into vending machine 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity