A re-occurring question of a possible conflict of interest has again snarled a board appointment in Parkville. Established in 2006, the Parkville Old Towne Market Community Improvement District (POTMCID) is governed by both state statute and its own bylaws, which require approval of a board of directors by the Parkville Board of Aldermen. In 2010, the POTMCID recommended a slate of board members to the City. It was rejected, primarily due to concerns about potential conflicts of interest arising from members of the CID board also sitting on the board of the Main Street Parkville Association (MSPA). A portion of sales tax revenue collected in the CID is allocated to that body, which then funds grants for projects within the district boundaries. At the Parkville Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday evening, the Board again rejected a slate of candidates presented by the POTMCID, due to the same concerns over conflicts of interest. The suggested slate consists of founding CID members Tom Hutsler and John Kuhns and newcomers John Putnam and Debbie Worley to four-year terms. CID chair Kevin Heaton and director Carol Kuhns presented the slate to the Board and were greeted with skepticism from its members. Alderman Marc Sportsman commended Heaton — who was appointed to the chairmanship about six months ago - for his service before he said he would recommend the Board not approve the slate of candidates. Sportsman as well as Mayor Nan Johnston said they had reservations about the slate of candidates –—specifically Hutsler, who also serves as MSPA chair. However, both Johnston and Sportsman were quick to state their concerns were not about Hutsler himself, but instead the appearance of possible conflicts of interest. As chair of MSPA, Hutsler could write grant proposals seeking funding from the CID. Additionally, in his position as a member of the CID board, he could play a part in either the approval or refusal of non-MSPA grant funding requests. Heaton said finding people willing to serve was difficult and Kuhns said the CID board had put into place safeguards to protect from conflicts of interest. Those with memberships in both organizations would be unable to vote on issues related to MSPA.
Read the whole story in this week's issue of The Citizen.