Conflict of interest conflict

NNSL (Nov 28/97) - Ald. Cheryl Best followed her lawyer's advice instead of the city's Tuesday when she did not declare a conflict of interest for a budget presentation from the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce.

Best is the chamber's executive director. The presentation was given by municipal affairs committee chairperson Gabrielle Decorby.

The following day, Best said she saw no conflict of interest and no harm in asking questions of Decorby following the presentation.

"In every other jurisdiction in Canada, if your employer makes a presentation to council, you are automatically in a conflict of interest," said Best.

"In the territorial laws, there has to be a benefit to either my employer or myself for there to be a conflict."

Best said neither she nor the chamber had anything to gain by the presentation, noting it dealt with the community as a whole, not just the business community.

Asked if she was concerned about the perception of a conflict of interest, Best replied, "No. I'm here to represent the people of Yellowknife, and ultimately the city's and the chamber's mandates blend, in that what's good for the community is good for the business community and visa versa."

Best said she sought advice of her own lawyer after city lawyers told her she would be in conflict of interest for the presentation.

The rookie alderman noted she did declare a conflict on a presentation from the Northern Frontier Visitor's Association presentation, because the chamber is a tenant in the building.