66°Overcast

Garvey Raises Red Flags About Public-Private Partnership Vote

by ARLnow.com — December 6, 2012 at 4:15 pm 6,219 110 Comments

(Updated at 2:35 p.m. on 12/7/12) County Board Member Libby Garvey was recently reelected, having run on a platform of being an independent voice on the Board. True to that promise, today Garvey raised questions about the propriety of another Board member’s business dealings, given a matter currently before the Board.

Garvey is calling for the Board to delay its scheduled vote on adoption of Virginia’s Public-Private Transportation Act (PPTA). The vote is currently scheduled for Monday, after being deferred at the Nov. 27 Board meeting.

The County Board is considering using a private-public partnership for the design, construction and operation of the planned Crystal City streetcar. The Board would need to adopt the state PPTA in order to enter such a partnership.

Garvey, however, has expressed concerns about the PPTA, maintaining that additional public interest safeguards are needed. She cited “problems with the PPTA procurement for the [Metro] Silver Line,” and a recent report by the Southern Environmental Law Center that found “flaws” in the Virginia PPTA, as reasons why the Board needs “more time to study the implications of adopting the PPTA guidelines and to consider safeguards that will ensure full and open competition and true risk-sharing by the private sector.”

In an email sent to the rest of the Board this morning, Garvey took her concerns a step further, raising questions about whether Board member Chris Zimmerman should be voting on the PPTA, given that he recently disclosed that he’s working as a consultant for AECOM, a large construction, design and transportation conglomerate. AECOM has worked on streetcar and light rail projects in a number of U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Atlanta, New Orleans, Minneapolis and Grand Rapids.

(A representative from the Minneapolis project spoke at a County Board work session last month about the city’s experience with its public-private partnership.)

In the email, Garvey asked Zimmerman to consider recusing himself from the PPTA vote given the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Dear Colleagues:

I spoke with Chris briefly yesterday afternoon about our possible vote on Monday concerning the PPTA and asked if he would consider delaying and then if he would recuse himself from the vote. At the moment, Chris sees no reason to delay or recuse himself.

So I am writing to all of you because I am very concerned about how this could look to our public and this concerns us all. Chris sent us a letter on October 25, 2012, notifying the Board of his consultant contract with AECOM Canada East. In that letter, Chris stated that “there is the possibility that at a future point it may be necessary for me to disclose my affiliation with the company in matters coming before the Board . . . and to even disqualify myself from participation in those matters.” In the letter, Chris also states that he wants “to be certain to anticipate any potential conflict of interest (or appearance of conflict) that could arise.” I think with the PPTA issue we are at that point and hope Chris will reconsider, and that we all can take a step back here.

Since I am new to the Board, I have only recently become aware of the extensive contractual relationships that have existed between AECOM and Arlington County Government for at least the last few years. With respect to Columbia Pike, AECOM has participated in the Transit Initiative Traffic Report, the peer review of capital cost estimates for the streetcar, the Columbia Pike Land Use and Housing Study and the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Plan. AECOM also has worked on the Crystal City Multimodal Transportation Study, the Four Mile Run Demonstration Project, and the Crystal City Second Entrance and Access Study. AECOM has several offices in Arlington, briefed us tonight on streetcar vehicles, and was one of the companies to brief us about public private partnerships — the exact issue we will be voting on. I think anyone would assume that it is quite likely they will be doing additional work for the County and, should we adopt the PPTA, they will be submitting an unsolicited bid.

AECOM has been and continues to work on streetcar projects and other transportation projects in the United States, Canada and elsewhere. Its website includes a section on public private partnerships (P3) and states: “AECOM has been involved in at least 90 percent of the Unites States P3 transportation projects.” The company states that P3 projects work well when, among other factors, there is “political support from the top.”

As you well know, the Board had on its November 27th agenda adoption of guidelines for public-private partnerships, pursuant to Virginia’s Public-Private Transportation Act (PPTA). This Act, and our proposed guidelines, would allow a company to present an unsolicited bid to construct and manage major transportation projects, including the streetcar. Given the current economy and limits of federal and state funding, the Board has been receiving information about the possibility of a public-private partnership to fund the streetcar. Last week, I asked that we not act on the proposed guidelines because the PPTA has been flagged as having flaws that (contrary to what we have been told to expect) can allow, and have allowed, the shift of risk from the private to the public sector. These are serious concerns affecting not only our streetcar decision, but also decisions on large projects in the future. We did not have sufficient information to make such a significant decision then. We still do not have sufficient information to act on this, either about necessary safeguards we should implement, nor about Chris’ relationship with AECOM should he continue to decide he need not recuse himself.

A thorough understanding about necessary safeguards aside, in light of Chris’s letter regarding his consultant relationship with AECOM Canada East, I believe that the Board should not act at this time on guidelines that address the selection of contractors on transportation projects and the risks to be borne by the contractor and taxpayers. Chris notes in his letter his desire to anticipate any future conflict of interest or appearance of conflict of interest. I believe we all want that. I also believe there clearly could be an appearance of a conflict with the vote on the PPTA guidelines. I believe we all need to know the facts regarding the County’s contractual and other business relationships with AECOM and all the pertinent details regarding Chris’s consulting relationship with AECOM Canada East. Without these kinds of disclosures, it is not possible to determine the degree to which a conflict of interest, or the appearance of conflict of interest, may exist. As we all know, in the public realm, the appearance of a conflict is as important as the facts. Perceptions are everything.

Finally, I know that we all value the excellent reputation that Arlington has earned for good government and understand that even an appearance of impropriety can tarnish that reputation. That result can easily be avoided in this situation either by waiting to vote on the guidelines until all the facts are disclosed or by Chris deciding not to vote on the PPTA guidelines. Finally, since there are reasons other than those relating to an actual or potential conflict of interest to defer voting on the guidelines, that necessary delay would also allow us the time to obtain and review the facts relating to the conflict issues.

As always, I am happy to discuss this. Libby

Arlington County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac tells ARLnow.com he doesn’t see any reason Zimmerman would need to recuse himself. He pointed out that the vote pertains to adopting guidelines, not awarding a contract. Because no contract is being awarded and there’s no financial benefit to Zimmerman, he says there’s no conflict of interest.

“My advice to Zimmerman is he doesn’t have a conflict and he doesn’t need to recuse himself. I think all five Board members are eligible to vote on this,” said MacIsaac. “There’s certainly no reason for Zimmerman to recuse himself.”

MacIsaac adds that Zimmerman didn’t immediately have to inform his fellow Board members of his work as an AECOM consultant, but he appears to have done so to allow for transparency.

“He could have just kept it to himself and not said a word and worked out the conflicts when and if one arises,” said MacIsaac.

MacIsaac noted that there may be conflicts related to Zimmerman’s consulting in the future, but they will be dealt with should they arise. He stresses that currently no issue has been found.

“I think it’s unfortunate the Conflicts Act would be raised under these circumstances,” MacIsaac said. “It just doesn’t seem fair.”

MacIsaac sent a memo to the Board yesterday (Thursday) explaining his view. An excerpt from the memo reads:

“The claim of impropriety appears to be based on a projection into the future about what an entity related to the AE Com subsidiary with which Mr. Zimmerman has an employment relationship might do in the future. Such speculative forecasting about potential conflicts in the future creates a standard few elective officials can meet, because it is not grounded in actual facts. It suggests a rule that would prohibit Board members from participating in transactions coming before the Board because their personal interests or those of their family members might one day in the future intersect with County business.”

  • Chuck Smith

    Zimmerman needs to resign his position with either one of the entities.

    • Tom

      Zimmerman is and always has been a pompous, arrogant individual. I applaud Garvey for trying to hold him accountable. The streetcar is a waste of money, just like Zimmerman is a waste of a board seat.

      • DCBuff

        Seriously. Another good reason for an IG to look into ArlCo gov’t.

        • KalashniKEV

          They won’t have to look very hard. These local Democrat politicians are the MOST CORRUPT in the nation.

          • JimPB

            “These local Democrat politicians are the MOST CORRUPT in the nation.” Evidence, please.

          • bemused bystander

            If you think that, you really need to get out more.

          • KalashniKEV

            ArtisFAIL, Trolley Folley, Public Pool, Bum Mansion, war on Small Business, War on Murals, Revenue Enforcement vs. Community Policing, and a *million* other things…

          • drax

            He hasn’t even voted on this yet. He could simply recuse himself.

          • Josh S

            Has it ever occurred to you, Kev, that most of the things on your list are figments of your imagination? In addition, while you may find the things on your list objectionable from a policy point of view, it’s hard to see a possible corruption connection for most of them. Do you even know what corruption is?

          • drax

            corruption (noun) – anything Kev doesn’t like

  • Greg

    I like her.

    • Road Diet

      +1

  • Douglas Parker

    Board member Chris Zimmerman recently disclosed that he’s working as a consultant for a large transportation conglomerate. AECOM has worked on streetcar and light rail projects in a number of U.S. cities.

    NOPE NOTHING TO SEE HERE…. MOVE ALONG PEOPLE.

    • nom de guerre

      Thanks, Chris. Or are you just a neighbor of his?

      • Douglas Parker

        This is Zimmerman himself! You got me. I just post comments like the one above hoping that casual readers will focus on my sarcasm and pass right over. I have underestimated you nom. Hat’s off to your keen intuition. ;)

  • MrMeow

    Why don’t we vote for that computer that won Jeopardy?? I mean I’m sure it could do a good job on the Board.

    • Question

      Well, I am not too sure that all of the matters that come before the board could be phrased as a question could they ??

      • Alex Trebek

        who is nova steve?

  • Pete

    Wonder if the timing of this is any coincidence with the closed-door session the board had today at 3:00.

  • stage fright

    Pleeezzzee. Does the PPTA proposed by the office of the Secretary of Transportation mean aecom is hired? No. Zimmerman should undoubtedly be off of any selection committee. Libby needs to buck up and quit abstaining or delaying votes.

    • I know right

      I agree, the 3P stuff is not a big deal at this point. But the fact that Arlington is throwing business to AECOM while Zimmerman is under contract with them for consulting services could be huge.

      The big question is whether AECOM is getting this work from Arlington on a non-compete basis, or whether they are bidding against other companies. If it’s non-compete, that is bad. If they are bidding, then Zimmerman hopefully has no role in determining the award from the county.

      • Wayne Kubicki

        Here is sone info on one of AECOM’s contracts:

        http://arlington.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=2329&meta_id=100560

        If you go here, and type in “AECOM”, you’ll get to some actual documentation:

        http://egov.arlingtonva.us/purchasing/Contracts.asp

      • South Awwlington

        It looks bad. Period. Even if there is nothing improper going on. The fact that he is an elected official on a governing municipal body and is also employed (as a consultant) by a company that seeks to do business with the very governing body on which he has a vote looks horrible. He should recuse himself on any vote that has ANY tie to AECOM should they have bid.

        • drax

          What looks bad?

          They haven’t voted on it yet. Zimmerman could recuse himself. If he doesn’t, then you can start talking about something looking bad. There’s nothing there yet.

          • Patrick

            “At the moment, Chris sees no reason to delay or recuse himself.”

            So a county board member has asked Zimmerman to recuse himself from the vote and he has declined. That is what looks bad.

          • South Awwlington

            What looks bad is an elected official working as a consultant to a business that brings business before said Board.

            This isn’t a stretch drax.

          • drax

            You don’t understand what’s happening, Patrick.

            Chris hasn’t decided whether to recuse himself yet. He doesn’t have to until there is a vote. Until there is a vote, there’s no conflict of interest. He hasn’t voted on anything yet. He can’t recuse himself from a vote that hasn’t occurred.

            See how that works?

          • drax

            “What looks bad is an elected official working as a consultant to a business that brings business before said Board.”

            I agree. But that’s why they can recuse themselves from votes and all that.

            You can’t avoid all conflicts of interest. Board members have to live in and pay taxes and all that in the county after all. So they deal with them case by case.

    • Wayne Kubicki

      There may be a variety issues here. One of them maybe the propriety of Chris Zimmerman now being a consultant to a firm that does considerable business with the County.

    • Chris Slatt

      Seriously. Did anyone even read this letter? He immediately disclosed the relationship. He hasn’t voted on any contract awards to AECOM since the relationship. This kind of stuff is going to happen if you want to have elected officials that are actually knowledgeable about what they’re doing rather than folks like Libby who apparently need 6 months to understand anything longer than a paragraph.

      As for the substance of the PPTA guidelines, the criticism has all been directed at the state’s use of PPTA and how there is little legislative oversight. The Secretary of Transporation can just sign off on it and award sole source contracts, etc. The guidelines County Staff are recommending require full County Board votes, a public comment process, all unsolicited proposals received have to be bid back out for competitive bids with reasonable times before the bids are due back, etc.

      In all of the coverage of this I haven’t heard Libby enunciate one substantive change she actually wants made to the guidelines. Sounds to me like she’s just throwing up roadblocks for the Streetcar network.

      • LauraB

        Well here’s our resident county commission member to defend Zimmerman. Shocking.

        • Josh S

          Actually, I’m not sure that snark constitutes any sort of response to the points that Chris makes, which are reasonable ones.
          I think there may be the appearance of a conflict of interest, which is serious enough. And it is worthwhile to make this whole situation public. But it doesn’t appear that anything specific is wrong just yet.

          • Ed

            I agree. Chris’ snark towards Libby is a personal issue between him and her and not germane to the actual criticisms she raised about Zimmerman’s conflicts of interest.

        • drax

          Well, here’s LauraB completely ignoring the substance of his post.

      • South Awwlington

        The Washington Post has also picked this story. Thankfully. Sunlight is the best disinfectant and we won’t need to worry about the impartiality of our local blogs since Sullivan is on the trail.

        Now if Mr. Zimmerman cares as much about Arlington and it’s future as a TOD municipality, he should step away from AECOMM, lead here in the position he was elected to and then go into consulting after his term has expired. Then this wouldn’t be an issue.

        He is an intelligent man. I can’t believe he can’t see the forest for the trees here.

  • Sam Rothstein

    She better have someone go out and start her car for her tonight.

    • BoredHouseWife

      “Whoever it was, they put the dynamite under the passenger’s side. But what they didn’t know, what nobody outside the factory knew, was that that model car was made with a metal plate under the driver’s seat. It’s the only thing that saved my life.”

      • Wayne Kubicki

        LOL!! Ah, yes – DeNiro.

  • Willy

    You can’t have conflicts of interest, apparent conflicts of interests, hints of conflicts of interest, whiffs of conflicts of interest, any thing smacking of conflict of interest……etc.

    He should recuse himself from this discussion and any votes.

    • BoredHouseWife

      no you can. i.e rumsfield, katherine harris, cheney etc etc.

  • Uhhh

    This is some important info from the Arlington Mercury piece:
    “Without these kinds of disclosures, it is not possible to determine the degree to which a conflict of interest, or the appearance of conflict of interest, may exist,” Garvey wrote.
    Not so, said County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac. The guidelines are merely procedural. MacIsaac said that Zimmerman disclosed to the board and senior staff that he has entered a contract with AECOM Canada East.
    But should Zimmerman recuse himself?
    “Absolutely not,” MacIsaac replied. He said the contract is still only about a month old, and that Zimmerman was clear with staff and the other board members that he wanted to know if they saw a conflict of interest. He did not see any way that the guidelines could be manipulated to favor one company over another, as Garvey said she feared. He added that he found it ridiculous that anyone could read the guidelines that way.

    • Elliot Ness

      Please remember that MacIsaac is the person who drafted the opinion that having voting districts would be dangerous to democracy.

    • Greg

      They’re voting on whether to move forward with a public private partnership rail project when one of the board members works for a company involved in more than 90% of all public private partnership rail projects.

      You can argue about Zimmerman’s duty here, but I don’t think it’s ‘ridiculous’ to say there could be a conflict or appearance of conflict present.

    • Paul Casimir

      MacIssac is not an independent elected official but is hired by and serves at the pleasure of the county board with a salary of $203,353 a year. I would take anything he says with a grain of salt and what he considers best in his own personal interest.

  • bobbytiger

    What, we’re not voting 5 – 0, like we always do? Gosh darn it.

  • Elliot Ness

    Zimmie is paid money by a leading street car contractor?

    “Hello, FBI, I would like to report a case of public corruption.”

    PS: I wonder how many other bribes, I mean “consulting”, exist.

    • Josh S

      The circuit is not complete at the moment (i.e., there is no streetcar nor any contracts for the design or construction of one), so your post remains in the category of “fiction.”

  • South Awwlington

    200 comments? Easy.

  • Steve

    “Since I am new to the Board, I have only recently become aware of the extensive contractual relationships that have existed between AECOM and Arlington County Government for at least the last few years.”

    Boldface, and obvious, lie.

    • Unbeeweebable

      Proof? How do you know what she knew and when she knew it?

    • drax

      “Boldface” lie? It was printed in bold?

      You mean “bald-faced” lie.

      • Westover

        Ignoring substance, yadda yadda….

        • drax

          There’s no substance whatsoever. Steve accused her of lying about something only she could know. There is no way to disprove it. That’s why Steve made the accusation – anyone can claim, on an anonymous board, things about what’s in someone else’s head.

  • soarlingtonslacker

    If is looks not right and it smells not right…it is likely not right. When is Zimmie up for re-election? Why are there not “rules” such that employees of Arlington County, elected or otherwise, cannot be paid by any firm that does business with or bids on business from the county?

    • bobbytiger

      Ahhhh, but you forget. “Zimmie” has a “D” after his name on the ballot. Game over.

      • Brian

        Could another “d” take him out? An honest one

        • Oxy

          Oxymoron……

      • drax

        Every voter who disagrees with you is an idiot who only votes for whoever is in a certain political party.

        Here’s a hint – insulting a majority of voters is not the path to winning elections.

        • Patrick

          I don’t think bobbytiger is running for election.

          • drax

            It won’t help bobbytiger convince anyone to vote for the candidates he favors.

  • Pat

    Zimmermans pet project furthering his personal agenda….what about Fissette and his pool project. These guys are not serving our county , they are serving their pockets.

  • Greg

    The only reason that company gave him a job is because of what he might be able to get them. I doubt he’s naive, so he must also know that. This is dirty. Plain and simple. He’s using his position on the County Board for personal gain.

    • Patrick

      Someone gets it.

  • KerryB

    Certainly federal government employees are not allowed to hold side jobs that have ANYTHING to do with their employment. You can buy me lunch (once a year) but not dinner, as that might run over the $20 ethics limit.

    • barticus

      KerryB is correct. As a current fed, I was instructed my standard is to avoid the APPEARANCE of a conflict of interest, not merely the actual conflict itself. Perhaps employees have to conduct themselves to a higher standard than elected officials.

      It doesn’t matter, though. Even if Zim recuses himself, all votes will be 3-1 at worst. And that assumes Garvey doesn’t abstain again.

  • J

    It sounds like someone needs to resign.

    • Rudy

      Agree. Good luck in Canada, Chris.

      VTY, Arlingtonians with higher standards

  • JnA

    Time for Zimmerman, Fisette, and Tejada to disclose all their conflicts of interest, including Fisette’s with his domestic partner’s consulting firm, Healthy Companies International, and Tejada’s with his Amigos in Central America.

    • Eieen S McMurrer

      Thank you. As a former employee of Arlington County I witnessed the detrimental effects of conflict of interest when Fisette’s partner held workshops for Arlington County employees,. Everyone knew that whatever they said would get back to Fisette and consequently were afraid to speak up with any negative comments. I know this for a fact because I spoke up. After the workshop many other employees came up to me and thanked me but said they were too afraid to make similar comments.
      Congratulations to Ms. Garvey for speaking the truth. May this be the start of cleaning up Arlington County government.

      • John K

        I love that an outfit called Healthy Companies International is involved in situations like this.

  • Mustafa

    Dissention on the County Board is certainly refreshing. I am all for mass transit, in fact I’d rather spend more to run an underground metro line under the Pike. But not during an economic downturn when my kids attend classrooms in trailers and (surprise!) another budget gap threatens another tax increase. Keep it simply County Board. Safe streets, good schools, maintained roads, nice parks with open green space. Waterworlds, artiscubes, homeless high rises and quaint choo-choo trains are not good use of local tax dollars. Cut out all that nonsense and stick to the basics please.

    • Josh S

      If we always waited for boom times to do any infrastructure investments, we wouldn’t have half of what we have now.
      Also, there is an argument to make that when the private sector is hurting, this is exactly when the public sector should be spending so as to help goose the economy back into action.

    • Willy

      Mustafa — Couldn’t have said it any better.

  • Androgyny-2.0

    So glad I voted for him!

  • Glebe Roader

    Mr. Zimmerman,

    Given your relationship with AECOM, you must recuse yourself from voting on this issue.

  • Jane Barcroft

    Dear me. One may have to come out of retirement.

  • Homeowner

    When it comes to conflicts of interest and independence policies, everyone I’ve ever seen addresses actual conflicts and the appearance of conflicts. I’m not sure how any fair-minded person could think this isn’t at least the appearance of a conflict and Zimmie should recuse himself.

  • Ted

    Stay in retirement Karen Jane, please.

  • Noonan

    And he sold out to a Canadian firm! Considering his criticism of the 395 HOT lanes project for funneling money to a foreign company, I find that highly entertaining.

    Best news about this whole story is he seems to already have one foot out the door at the County building. Won’t be sad to see him gone.

    • PaulB

      Bet they paid for his trip to France over the summer to look at streetcar systems. It all makes sense now. Canadian firm, Quebec office, trip to France. Yep.

  • Pat

    What the heck…the county attorney is taking sides? That is the most unprofessional and reckless display of his position. Unbelievable!! Perhaps we should be investigating why he is in zimmies pocket!?
    This statement by Garvey is serious and demands consideration. We heard the only reason she went public is because Zimmie refused to recluse himself. Serious breach of ethics. Smells fishy. Large scale fishy since the county attorney piped in. Investigate please!!!

  • Elliot Ness

    It is a conflict to Zimmie to participate in any manner with the decision whether the County should adopt private-public partnership rules because he is being PAID by a private company that is in the business of participating in private-public partnerships. He is being paid (or bribed) to set-up the rules that favor his employer. We do not need to wait until his employer later obtains a contract under those rules.

    Is there any chance that Zimmie, while being bribed, would vote that the County should not adopt private-public rules or that such rules should bar foreign firms? The conflict is real and now.

  • KalashniKEV

    I have to admit I didn’t see this coming, but it does make sense. Why would you build a STREETCAR in the year 2013?

    This could be the one that puts Zimmerman in jail. I believe Fisette will follow.

  • Wayne Kubicki

    AECOM’s Montreal office was raided a month ago in connection with a public corruption investigation:

    http://business.financialpost.com/2012/11/06/anti-corruption-police-raid-genivar-other-quebec-engineering-firms/

    • Kate

      whoa

    • Homeowner

      Wow! They eveh have a track record of this sort of thing.

      • Wayne Kubicki

        “Track record” may be a stretch, as it sounds like the activity being investigated was back in the early 2000′s by a now-subsidiary of AECOM that AECOM did not own at the time. But it also sounds like some of the people who may have been involved 10 years ago are now in AECOM’s employ.

  • BBMS

    Now I’m wondering when Libby’s turn to be Chairman of the county board rolls around. They all get to be Chair at some time, I assume she will be voted in when her turn comes around. Everybody else has had at least one year as Chair.

    I like her style.

  • Ballston Resident

    Arlington needs the trolley to revitalize the Columbia Pike area. Buses won’t do it. The trolley is something people can depend on, much like the metro on the Orange Line. We need this trolley, not a bus system which should be only considered as a secondary, not primary, source of transportation. Libby Garvey does not understand this.

    Arlington has come a long way under its current Democratic political makeup and we should not forget their almost unbelievable achievements. We are enjoying incredible benefits due to their foresight. Libby Garvey is not cut from the same cloth in my opinion and she will never get my vote.

    If Chris Zimmerman has a conflict of interest with his AECOM consulting job, then let the chips fall where they may. I’d like to hear his response because I believe he has been very effective in getting our Orange Line corridor and the rest of Arlington to the state it is at today. I think his vision for the Columbia Pike corridor is right on track. Chris – can you please respond?

    Thank you.

    • brown before green

      I’d say this is no longer about the streetcar. I think the streetcar still has the votes. This is now personal.

      • Observer

        Oh, totally. And you know Bondi would have never dared to question this situation, much less go public with it.

        • Elliot Ness

          She would also be a “consultant” but likely not pay taxes on the tirbute.

    • Truthi

      Your knowledge of Columbia Pike transit is as good as your knowledge about Metro in general and orang line in particular. The redvelopment of CP will happen and it hapening with out the trolley. The fact that CZ is working for the consultant that did the County’s trolley study shows why the study was so biased to include not relaizing that buses can be made with three doors.

  • Paul

    I’m not surprised by Zimmerman’s failure to recuse himself. This reminds me of the incident a few years ago when Favola was working for Marymount University and trying to give it a sweetheart deal by handing over half of the park at TJ to Marymount’s football program. Of course, this inbred board found no conflict of interest. I’m a Democrat, but unless we get some Republicans on this board, this type of nonsense will continue. Zimmerman was a failure on the Metro board, too.

    • Eileen McMurrer

      Totally agree. Take it to the polls next election.

  • fedworker

    When the FBI comes knocking I hope that Chris Zimmerman doesn’t get caught hiding the money in his bra and panties like PGC’s very own Jack & Leslie Johnson

    • fedworker

      …cuz that would just be embarrassing

  • Truthi

    So jut why would a company hire a trained economist who knows nothing of transit except he is an elected official in a town that wants to build a trolley. Could it be – QUID PRO QUO????

  • Elliot Ness

    Issue: Should the county board adopt private-public project rules?

    Zimmie: Of course we should because I am getting paid to vote yes so that my “employer” can later get a nice fat contract under the rules we adopt.

  • Conor

    Life-long Dem who votes Green now in county board elections. Toss that whole crowd out.

  • Wild Bill

    Finally someone stands up to the most arrogant of all Board members ever. The majority of
    his own party hates him – lets find a way to get him off the pedestal he has himself on !

  • Henry Bennet XIII

    McIssac made an opinion on a very specific point before him about hiss employer. Where’s the Cooch?

  • Jamal

    Perhaps the Greens or Pubs finally have an issue to take him down. Zim is both a hack (all the real work on smartgrowth was done in the 70s by his predecessors) and now, perhaps, corrupt. He actually seems to mean well but his hubris is painful. Send him packing!

  • Bubba

    The real shame is the Arlington county attorney approving this drug deal; if we did this, he’d send us to jail

    • Jim Webster

      Bubba, the real shame is Libby Garvey’s decision to air her differences with Zimmerman without a solid legal basis.

  • Jim Webster

    The County Attorney’s opinion should put this unfortunate matter to rest. All you nattering nabobs of negativism may disagree with Chris on policy or personal matters, but you have to agree that he exceeded the requirements of ethics law by disclosing his arrangement. The fact is that he is carrying on the smart growth policies of his predecessors, Democrats on the county board who set in motion the development direction that has kept Arlington vibrant and maintained the lowest tax burden in the metropolitan area.

    • Nattering Nabob

      Does disclosure of one’s conflict of interest somehow absolve one from it? I think not.

      The county’s attorney merely states that Zimmerman disclosed his relationship. It doesn’t address whether his relationship can or will influence his policy decisions.

      You may agree with Chris on policy or personal matters, but you also have to agree that this has appearances of impropriety.

      Thank you, Libby Garvey, for your contribution to transparency. It’s shameful that the other county board members are trying to hush your “internal email.”

      • tom

        agree!!

    • John K

      Glad to know that County Board staff is working on weekends. Good show!

  • lloyd

    Just glad to see that someone is stepping up to the plate and questioning this. Whether there is a conflict or not, the Board stands up for each other too often. Should be an interesting step in the process.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list