After the election, the new Swansea board could have up to four trustees who have conflicts of interests. Candidates Brian McGuire and Doris Rebenstorff will have conflicts of interest because they have relatives working for the village. McGuire’s half-brother is Swansea Fire Chief John McGuire and Rebenstorff’s husband works for the Swansea street department.
If elected, volunteer firefighter Brian McGuire would join a board that already has one volunteer firefighter as a member, and another board member is working to become a volunteer firefighter. All three firefighters would have conflicts of interest. Between the relative conflicts of interest and the firefighter conflicts of interest, that would leave only three trustees who could vote on the budget and other important issues without having conflicts.
Here is the issue voters must consider. Can the trustees with conflicts fairly vote on budgets that affect the wages and benefits of their relatives or the budgets for the departments in which they or their relatives serve? Trustees can recuse themselves from voting, but they do not have to do that. If elected, they can vote on every issue.
Conflicts of interest should not be the only consideration when voting for trustees, but with the possibility of having four trustees with conflicts serving on the new board, conflicts become more significant.
Educate yourselves on the candidates’ stands on the issues and vote on April 7.
Timothy L. Buchanan