Aberdeen City Council member admits to conflict of interest

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The Aberdeen City Council members have been in discussions recently about what crosses the line when it comes to conflicts of interest.

In a shocking moment yesterday evening, one City Council member owned up to his mistake of voting on matters that financially affected his clients.

"Councilman Bunsness disclosed to the council that he had participated in, I believe three votes, in which he has been involved with a present business client of his," said Aberdeen City Attorney Ronald Wager.

Near the end of the the most recent City Council meeting is when Councilman Dave Bunsness openly recognized that he made a mistake when voting on a few different matters.

"He admitted that his participation vote would have been a conflict of interest for him, and that conflict of interest is set forth in the conflict of interest policy in which the council adopted back in 2017," Attorney Wager said.

Aberdeen Mayor Travis Schaunaman said the conflict of interest guidelines are thoroughly written.

"We're going to have to rely on some self policing, and I think that's a good thing, and I think that we can hold our elected officials accountable for that," Aberdeen Mayor Travis Schaunaman said.

Councilman Bunsness didn't want to be interviewed, but City Attorney Ronald Wager said that Councilman Bunsness asked what steps should be taken next, because he wasn't sure what he and the council should do.

"He was wondering with that revelation, what does he do and what does the council do at that point," Attorney Wager said.

Mayor Schaunaman thinks there is a simple solution for questionable voting in the future.

"It's our responsibility as law makers to do the right thing, and to make sure we understand what the line is that you shouldn't cross, and to be on the right side of that line," Mayor Schaunaman said.

City Attorney Wager doesn't believe Councilman Bunsness intentionally made the mistake, and this shouldn't be a re-occurring issue.

"At the end of the day we have council members who are very busy, and very human, and may occasionally have something like this slip past them," Attorney Wager said.

The issues the Councilman voted on that were conflicts of interest were unanimous decisions by all council members.