Grand County Attorney’s investigation finds that council member did not violate ethics laws
by Rudy Herndon
Staff Writer
Jan 23, 2014 | 2935 views | 0 0 comments | 142 142 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Grand County Council member Lynn Jackson has not violated state or county ordinances, and he has acted ethically in the performance of his duties, Grand County Attorney Andrew Fitzgerald said this month.

Fitzgerald’s office reached that determination based on a thorough legal review of allegations that Jackson’s work on behalf of a consulting firm posed a conflict of interest, he said in a statement.

Local resident Bill Love had alleged that Jackson failed to disclose his working relationship with Del Fortner Consulting, which has represented American Potash in its dealings with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Love said this week that he plans to keep a close eye on Jackson’s ties with the consultant.

“We need to look at future proposals that come before the council and how they relate to Lynn Jackson’s affiliation with American Potash,” he said Jan. 22.

But he indicated that he was ready to put the current dispute behind him.

“I don’t know if I want to beat this horse anymore,” he said.

Jackson, in turn, said he feels vindicated by Fitzgerald’s determination.

“I knew I hadn’t broken any of the rules,” he said Jan. 22.

In the future, Jackson said, people should be more careful before they imply that their elected officials are unethical.

Jackson first declared his relationship with the consultant in October 2012, and he said he thoroughly reviewed conflict of interest statutes and ordinances before he decided to run for office.

“I was very well aware of what they (said) from the get-go,” he said.

Moreover, Jackson noted that American Potash has never sought the county council’s approval on any matters. In the event that it ever does, he said he would recuse himself from voting on any related action items.

Love came forward with his allegations last November, after the county council voted to form a three-person committee that is developing a range of potential federal land designations for future consideration. Jackson later volunteered to serve on the committee.

The council eventually plans to forward a list of recommended designations on to Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, who is leading congressional efforts to resolve longstanding public land use conflicts in the region.

Before it does, however, the council is continuing to seek the public’s written suggestions on potential recommendations to Bishop’s office.

Love said he remains concerned that the council is not involving the public in the process. In particular, he questioned why the county will not accept comments via email.

“In over 20 years of working with Grand County, I have never seen an instance where the council has tried to restrict public input by accepting only letters and not emails on any subject that comes before the county,” Love said.

But Jackson said the county is actively encouraging residents to comment on the public lands initiative. Anyone who is inclined to write an email could simply print the message out and then mail a copy to the council’s office, he said.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.