Local News

New Initiative Would Clear Up Conflict of Interest Issues

June 30, 2011


When you have the Mayor and two council members employed by someone who owns multiple businesses, and the Vice Mayor renting business property from the same person, there are bound to be some ethical issues. And when that person (Elling Halvorson) is a partner in a land use plan that could change the face of Tusayan forever; that’s an ethical crisis.
There may be a solution to that crisis in the form of a Code of Conduct for the Town Council that could go before voters as soon as November. Basically this Code of Conduct prevents a wealthy businessperson from stacking the Town Council with his employees in order to get his way. It makes it impossible for someone to purchase the Town Council. If passed, Tusayan would retain local control as a community without the risk of having a Town Council that is bought and paid for by Elling Halvorson, the gang from Stilo, or any other rich developer who wants to buy himself a town.  Here is a link to the proposed code.
Two business rivals are actually backing they measure. They are former Town Council Member and part owner of the Red Feather Lodge Clarinda Vail, and former Councilwoman Ann Wren who owns the Canyon Plaza.
Vail said, “Ann and I may be competitors, but we are united in our belief that Tusayan needs honest government free from the influence of special interests. This initiative keeps all employers, including myself, from obtaining a controlling interest at Town Hall. As a resident of Tusayan I call upon all major employers to support this initiative.”
The initiative would also settle the concerns of a growing list of people worried about a developer takeover of Tusayan.  A recent letter to the Arizona Daily Sun bears this out. Here is a link.
Not everyone likes the plan. Mayor Greg Bryan, who is an employee of out-of-state land owner Elling Halvorson, tells the Daily Sun he’s against the idea.