Conflicts of Interest & the Tip of the Iceberg

Council’s affirmation of the mayor’s removal of John Guio from the Plan Commission for reasons of ethics comes as no surprise. I wonder, however, if any of the aldermen get that wife Sue Guio’s former position with the city presented more in the way of potential conflicts of interest than her place on the board of Hope Haven ever has.

But I digress. What this action does is to set a precedent for an ethical cleansing, and just in time. DeKalb City Council must turn its attention to the board of the DeKalb Public Library, DKPL’s own conflicts of interest and its years-long pattern of ignoring the Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act.

This will not be easy, because it is apparent most council members do not fully understand their responsibilities over this body and I’m betting city staff are not racing to tell them. The aldermen will have to insist on the discussion.

And they had better do this even before they tackle the weak-tea ethics ordinance on the books. DKPL’s pattern of bad behavior is so egregious, this may be the time the whole rotten apple breaks open. The City of DeKalb bears the ultimate responsibility and ignorance of fiduciary duty — and, yes, the law — is no excuse for allowing the pattern to continue on its watch.

Incidentally, Guio Realty was paid at least twice for consultations with DKPL, once in June 2007 ($525) and again in September 2008 ($850). I do not know what it may mean to this story, if anything, but it could constitute another dot to connect in the endless puzzle book that is DeKalb government.