Hayden to discuss potential conflicts of interest involving council members | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden to discuss potential conflicts of interest involving council members

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With the current Hayden mayor and a town council member who is running for mayor both being paid to do contractual work for the town, the Town Council wants to discuss its conflicts of interest policy.

The council will have that discussion, among other items of business, at a meeting beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9 at Hayden Town Hall.

Mayor Jim Haskins has been doing the janitorial work at Hayden Town Hall since the mid-1980s. He currently is paid $200 per month to clean Town Hall, and he said it takes him a couple of hours each week.

"Over the years, the town has gone out a couple times and bid the janitorial work," Haskins said. "When they bid it, it's always come in two or three times what I've been doing it for.

"It's never been an issue,” Haskins added. “I've never heard anyone complain about it."

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Ashley McMurray, who is running for mayor in the November election against fellow council member Tim Redmond, has a contract to manage the town's website and social media at a monthly cost of $475 through her company InSite Media.

McMurray started doing the work before she was a town council member.

"The whole council wanted me to submit a bid," McMurray said. "My bid came in much lower."

McMurray said she is doing the work for significantly less than what she would charge a typical client.

She said she had discussions with Hayden Town Manager Mathew Mendisco about doing the work while serving as a town council member.

"I said it's important that it's not seen in a bad light," McMurray said.

Both Haskins and McMurray said it can be difficult for small towns to find people to do needed work, and sometimes, the town’s elected officials have the expertise, time and the drive.

"I think the individual communities have to weigh that," said Haskins, who is a retired Colorado Parks and Wildlife area wildlife manager. "We've stressed that, whenever possible, we need to keep jobs in the community."

Aside from any work they do for the town, council members are paid $1,200 annually, and the mayor is paid $1,600 per year.

During a 2017 audit of the town's financials, the auditor noted that the town has contracts with two council members, and the town does not have a policy related to contracts with council members.

The town currently follows Colorado law related to conflicts of interest.

The Town Council will decide whether to continue following state laws or adopt its own conflict of interest policy.

McMurray said there have been discussions of limiting the amount of money a council member can be paid for contract work.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.

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