Mpls. mulls conflict of interest policyby Curtis Gilbert, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minneapolis is considering changes to its conflict of interest policy, after citizens raised concerns about the city's planning commission.
Many members of the commission work in the real estate development industry and do business with the city. A report released Tuesday shows members of the commission recused themselves more than 30 times last year due to conflicts of interest.
Commissioner Dan Cohen said that's a problem.
"The city attorney has said these conflicts of interest are justifiable, because we would not otherwise obtain the services of qualified professionals," Cohen said. "In fact the opposite is true. By tolerating these conflicts of interest, we encourage them."
Cohen would like to see the planning commission banned from reviewing projects when its members have conflicts of interest. The Minneapolis Planning Commission reviews development proposals and can grant variances to the city's zoning code.