Tevlin: New frac-sand job for Red Wing mayor is legal but dumb

  • Article by: JON TEVLIN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 16, 2013 - 10:46 PM
  • 15
  • Comments

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comment229Feb. 17, 13 5:37 AM

"thinks the city is more worried about its image than actual conflicts of interest"... This one is simple. The people became aware of this after the election, not before, and therefore voted accordingly. Now that the facts are on the table, it really doesn't matter what anybody's experts think anywhere in the country. The only people who should have a say in this is the majority of the people in Red Wing, MN and that can only be accomplished by a recall and the results should be the end of the story.

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jackpinesavFeb. 17, 13 7:28 AM

Good article, Jon. Complex issue for small town....BIG issue for Minnesota. Talk to people who do fracking...in No Dakota or anywhere...and tell me that process does not affect the water table. City and private wells, and the Mississippi will be affected.

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mngopwatchFeb. 17, 13 8:37 AM

Expecting the Legislature to pass laws on "conflicts of interest" might be a stretch considering the amount of teachers and union members and law enforcement employed personnel serving in both houses, might be a good idea, won't happen.

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overlandFeb. 17, 1310:06 AM

Good the City is investigating, that's their job, particularly since Egan is in such denial about his job. And again, recusal, or allowing him to resign the frac sand lobby position, is NOT sufficient. He has demonstrated to the people of Red Wing his priorities, his lack of ethics, and his state of denial. The City is taking its first step under the City Charter and looking into Egan's behavior. Good! As that moves forward, we voters of Red Wing have to act. Let the recall begin!

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remoguyFeb. 17, 1312:07 PM

An actual news story, not biased commentary, on this issue stated that there was no frac sand mining under consideration in Red Wing nor was there any increased traffic caused by said mining under foreseen. This is simply a case of a few disgruntled environmentalists attempting to punish a public servant. Does this mean that a bar owner cannot be mayor because there may be license issues or the police may be called to a barfight. Should restaurant owners be barred from political office because of health inspections? All Union members should be barred from holding office because labor laws must be enacted. All business owners must be barred because minimum wage laws maybe addressed. Let's get real. Conflicts happen all the time. Once again, this is simply a matter of a few birdbrains objecting to the mayor's profession.

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curtnilesFeb. 17, 13 1:47 PM

@remoguy you make some good points but this "new profession" happened post-election not allowing the citizens to factor this into their voting decision plus this is not small potatoes like a restaurant/bar issue this is a quality of life issue for all of the residents based on information regarding air quality and huge tax dollars committed to road repairs that will likely be required during and post-frac activity. It's about an elected official having inside influence on a daily basis (albeit part-time), who is paid by the industry that is pro for that industry looking to make it easier to make as much money as possible for their members. Once money is involved it becomes more likely to be a quid pro quo relationship. Do what any politician should do, talk, discuss and determine the best vested interests of your city without becoming employed and paid by one side in the discussion.

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remoguyFeb. 17, 13 2:13 PM

curtniles - The fact remains that there is no mining proposed for Red Wing and no increase in truck traffic in the town. The mayor has no control over what goes on in other parts of the state. Regarding a post election job; does this mean that an elected official cannot take a new job? Once again, this is simply an attempt by a small band of extremists to overturn an election. Recalls should be reserved for instances when the activity of the elected official is egregious. Sand mining is a legal activity, regulated by the MPCA, and overseen by various local and state employees. A small group of people are afraid of fracking and wish to stop it by shutting down the source of the sand. They have no scientific basis for their fears, but like many today choose to play the part of chicken little. As a result, an honorable mayor is dragged through the mud.

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thedanmanFeb. 17, 13 3:06 PM

This has nothing to do with conflict of interest. It's all about the misguided notion that fracking is evil. Funny how it's been going on and regulated for decades but in the last few years somehow it's now unsafe when the evidence fails to prove to the contrary. Thumbs down if you agree with me.

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alanam8Feb. 17, 13 5:36 PM

The fact that the job was offered after the election is a flashing red light that - if it hasn't already - should convince the US attorneys office and the FBI's public corruption unit to start looking at what's happening down in Frac Sand Country. Too much money and "unethical but legal" behavior to leave the rocks un-turned. In fact, I'd be surprised if there weren't preliminary investigations already underway.

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swmnguyFeb. 17, 1310:22 PM

Legal or lawful or not; whether there is any immediate pending business related to fracking involving the City of Red Wing or not; whether fracking is evil or not; all of these are irrelevant considerations. There used to be a value placed on avoiding situations in which there was an appearance of impropriety, and that was as important as any actual impropriety. Mr. Egan has jumped both feet over that line and there's no doubt about it.

Whether it's fair or not; whether an attorney, or Heaven help us, an ethicist, would say it passes muster or not; it most definitely calls into question Mr. Egan's common sense and perception of who he is, what his responsibilities are, and what his and his constituents' interests are. He's barely gotten settled into the office of mayor; to take a job that's fraught with controversy shows a real blind spot in Mr. Egan's character.

Mr. Tevlin is correct. Mr. Egan's taking this job was really dumb. He's certainly washed up as mayor. His judgement and motives will be questioned on every single thing he does. His value to the frac-sand interests may be damaged beyond repair, too. In trying to have both jobs, he's probably sunk his chances at either one. Mr. Egan's ambition has gotten the better of him, and in the process, he has shown very flawed judgement that will severely damage his future prospects.

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