This recent article in the Potomac Journal, clearly demonstrates, why the qualifications of appointees matter! Robert Doucaster is a symptom of a much larger problem in Prince William County. People appointed to public policy committees are often times selected for political reasons not because they necessarily have the proper experience or judgement for the particular committee!
Several appointees for LUAC, the committee that recommends changes to the Comprehensive Plan, have questionable motives for changing many of the land use designations. If these changes were adopted by the Board of Supervisors, these committee members could directly profit.
Prince William supervisors Tuesday gave the go-ahead for the county attorney to solicit the state Attorney General’s involvement in some citizen-generated claims of conflict-of-interest surrounding certain committee appointments.
Vice chair John Stirrup, R-Gainesville, brought forth a request for attorney investigation during yesterday’s supervisors time. Several constituents, he said, had asked if some members who were appointed months ago to a land-use committee – now disbanded, said At-Large Planning Commission member Gary Friedman, in a brief followup interview – stood to benefit financially from changes in the Comprehensive Plan they had proposed. The recommended changes opened the doors to certain developments; the committee members in question were real estate developers, Friedman confirmed.
County attorney Ross Horton said Conflict of Interest Act investigations belonged in the hands of the state attorney general, but that he would draft a letter requesting such investigation if the board agreed.
Supervisors approved the action.
The issue will more than likely come up Wednesday at the 7 p.m. Planning Commission public hearing at the McCoart Administration Building.
The meeting is geared toward receiving comment from residents about the proposed changes to chapters of the Comprehensive Plan – the very same recommendations that came from committee members now accused of conflict of interests. Ethics aside, the land-use changes are controversial for other reasons. The Centers of Commerce and Centers of Community Smart Growth proposals, for example, have been perceived by some as threatening to the county’s stock of open space and conserved properties.