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Nelson follows up with state authorities on possible Tornquist conflict of interest

MASON CITY – Don Nelson made good on his word of following up with state authorities over a possible conflict of interest involving City Council member Scott Tornquist. Nelson had a phone conversation with Eleena Mitchell-Sadler, an Assistant Ombudsman in Des Moines. Nelson described how Tornquist has voted on funding for the Mason City library renovation and also works for a company that bid on projects that were part of that renovation.

Mitchell-Sadler told Nelson:

“Below is the Iowa Code section I read to you over the phone that I believe refers to the issue you described.
I hope this is helpful to you.

Conflict of interest.
A conflict of interest exists when members of the council participate in a way that directly affects the personal or financial interests of the council members. In order to avoid conflict of interest problems, council members who have a personal or financial interest in an action must abstain from participating in the entire process which would include both discussion and voting. The council members who have or think they may have a conflict of interest should declare that there is or may be a conflict of interest and request a determination from the council. Where a conflict of interest is determined to exist, council members should abstain from voting and should be recorded as abstaining when votes are taken.”

Nelson told Tuesday afternoon that “I’m not pursuing any farther at this time. I think the point was made.”

Tornquist works as a salaried sales person for Rist & Associates, based in Des Moines. Rist was the low bidder on a kitchen hood for the new library coffee shop.

More on that kitchen hood in an upcoming story.

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