PNK takes a stand on issues related to the good governance of our county.
- Recusals – Why and when does the Partnership think elected officials should recuse themselves?
- Issues often arise during the normal course of our elected county official’s work that may create a potential conflict of interest due to an official’s personal interest in the case.
Rules regarding how our state legislators should react to a potential conflict of interest differ between states. In the Virginia legislature, the statutory and chamber rule provisions are as follows:
- A legislator who has a personal interest in a transaction shall disqualify himself from participating in the transaction. Does not apply to legislators participating in discussions or debates, provided that the interest is disclosed and he or she does not participate in the vote. Va. Code Ann. § 30-108.
- Every senator present in the Chamber shall vote when any question is put or vote taken. A Senator with a personal interest in the transaction shall neither vote nor be counted upon it. Senate Rule 36.
- Members present shall vote. No member who has an immediate and personal interest in the result of the question shall vote or be counted upon it. House Rule 69.
We most firmly believe at the local level (county government), our elected officials should also abide by these recusal provisions. To the best of our knowledge, New Kent County has not spelled out a code of ethics to be observed when there is a conflict of interest involved in conduct of county business. If such a code exists, we cannot find it.
In other words, The Partnership believes if a case involves your mother, father-in-law, wife’s uncle, daughter’s uncle, son’s uncle, your business partner, your pastor, your next-door-neighbor, etc., then you should not be involved in discussions related to or in voting on the matter. When the population of the county was much, much smaller, perhaps it was not possible to comply with this standard. Since we’ve grown from 5,000 to well over 22,000 residents in the past 50 years, this should not be a problem anymore.