The definition of ‘recuse’ is to excuse oneself from a case because of potential conflict of interest or lack of partiality.
The issue to recuse, or not to recuse is a potential or likely issue with almost every decision Naperville city council members have to make. What is a council member supposed to do?
Naperville mayor Steve Chirico explained the challenge with the following example: “lets say an anti-development special interest group supports a candidate and the special interest group works for a like-minded candidate. They make financial contributions to him/her, host events, walk neighborhoods… The candidate is elected and the vote on the proposed development comes up, should the candidate recuse him/herself due to conflict of interest?” The mayor said, “obviously the answer is no”. Many would respectfully disagree with the mayor by saying, the answer is not ‘obviously no’. The mayor continued, “candidates are supported when their positions align with the voter or special interest group’.
The issue to recuse on an issue surfaced during the last city council meeting when a discussion to fund Century Walk, with SECA funds, came to a vote. The vote was 5 to 4 to approve. The five council members voting ‘yes’ were Paul Hinterlong, Paul Leong, Jennifer Bruzan Taylor, and Patty Gustin , with the deciding yes-vote from Mayor Chirico.
All but Gustin received direct support from Brand Bobosky, President of Century Walk. Should any or all of the other four recused themselves from voting on the funding? None did. If any one of the four would have recused, the funding would not have passed.
Conflict of interest, objective, unbiased? You make the call.