Councilman’s new job raises conflict of interest questions

Allen Park Councilman Kyle Tertzag said he doesn’t foresee any conflicts of interest between his elected position and his new job as the city administrator in nearby Woodhaven.

It’s hard to understand why.

As a councilman, Mr. Tertzag has sworn to look out for the interests of the Allen Park community. And as Woodhaven administrator, he will be expected to attract businesses and create opportunities for growth.

Herein lies the problem: Municipalities are in competition with one another. They compete for businesses, they compete for development dollars and they compete for grant money, just to name a few. And in an area where tax revenues are disappearing at a breathtaking rate, competition is fierce.

So it’s really not a question of “if” Mr. Tertzag will be exposed to a conflict of interest, but a matter of when. The first time he talks to a business investor shopping potential opportunities Downriver, he will be faced with a de facto interest conflict no matter what he does. Sell Woodhaven and he is selling out Allen Park. Advocate for Allen Park and it’s not in the interest of Woodhaven.

How often Mr. Tertzag would face such potential conflicts is impossible to know. But to deny they exist is either ignorant or deceitful.

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