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Ethics Complaint Filed Against City Councilor Rebecca Wurzburger

Complaint comes from Wurzburger's District 2 predecessor, former Councilor Karen Heldmeyer

March 16, 2011, 6:00 pm
By Joey Peters

On Tuesday, former Dist. 2 City Councilor Karen Heldmeyer filed a complaint with the city's Ethics and Campaign Review Board for what she describes as "an inherently conflicted situation."

Heldmeyer's complaint centers around alleged blurring of the lines between Wurzburger's work as a city councilor and her private business as a consultant. 

In the complaint, Heldmeyer cites Wurzburger's bio on the website for her consulting firm, International Creative Tourism Associates, which lists as her experience UNESCO's 2008 Creative Tourism Conference and the publication of a book Heldmeyer's complaint describes as "a vanity publication largely underwritten by the City of Santa Fe."

Heldmeyer says her concerns arose after hearing complaints from people in District 2--which is also Wurzburger's district--about Wurzburger's travel and tourism activities. (Heldmeyer says she didn't include travel in the complaint because she is still awaiting information from the city.)

According to Heldmeyer, the main problem lies in Wurzburger's continued influence over city decisions related to creative tourism--decisions from which Wurzburger could stand to benefit professionally.

"It's just an inherently conflicted situation," Heldmeyer tells SFR. "The potential for crossover is very high, and most of it--if it occurs--is going to be unknown because you're going to have to be there to see it."

A second concern, Heldmeyer says, is the city's current attempts to rewrite its ethics ordinance. Heldmeyer says both the current and future law have loopholes for situations like Wurzburger's, "that may be technically legal but is viewed by the public as being a conflict of interest," she says.

In both versions, she says, "The only thing the public can do is to look at what's on the surface and make complaints. What goes on behind the scenes is totally untouched."

Wurzburger did not immediately return a call detailing the contents of this story left on her personal voicemail Tuesday evening. In the past, she has bucked criticism about some of her creative tourism activities, such as a recent trip to China.

In sum, Heldmeyer says, "The point is not what people can do to make a living. The point is that if they do things that overlap with their official duties, they have to remove themselves from that aspect of their duties."

Read the full complaint below.

http://sfreporter.com/santafe/blog-2738-ethics-complaint-filed-against-city-councilor-rebecca-wurzburger.html
Wurzburger Ethics Complaint
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