On Tuesday, February 15, 2011, County Attorney Marvin Bethune met with the Mecklenburg Waste Management Advisory Board (WMAB) and informed them that WBAB and the ReVenture Park Advisory Council (RAC) had been operating in violation of the County’s Conflict of Interest policy.
The Central Piedmont Sierra Club had raised this issue with the WMAB and RAC on several occasions and no action was being taken to address this. The process to make a recommendation to the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) was proceeding rapidly and was heavily influenced by individuals with a clear financial interest in seeing the ReVenture garbage-to-energy gasification incinerator succeed. We’ll site two specific examples:
A RAC and WMAB member who is a ReVenture consultant prepared and presented to the RAC an economic cost savings analysis of the ReVenture contract with the County. The document was accepted and utilized by the RAC without a comprehensive review of the analysis by any other RAC member. Based on available information, the criteria for the analysis, the data utilized and the actual calculations were never verified and approved by the RAC. ReVenture has utilized and distributed this document at public meeting.
Of greater concern was that the fact that this same ReVenture consultant and one of the principals on the ReVenture project and a member of Team ReVenture had volunteered to be on four of the seven committees that would be developing the final recommendation to the BOCC. Having ReVenture develop the Overview of Findings (Ollie Frazier and one other member), Strategic Fit (Ollie Frazier and one other member), Forsite/ReVenture Team Assessment (Ollie Frazier and two other members) and the Economic Value to the County (Rich Deming and one other member) is clearly a conflict of interest and an attempt to influence the outcome of this Boards recommendation.
This is why we asked the BOCC to investigate this matter. This is also why we strongly believe that the RAC presentation to the WMAB must be invalidated. We also believe that the WMAB lacks the necessary time and resources to make a valid recommendation to the BOCC and that additional resources and outside experts must be utilized. The risks and benefits of burning our garbage for the next twenty years must be thoroughly investigated. This decision is too important to rush into without knowing all of the answers.
If you agree, please call or email the members of the BOCC. Tell them not to rush into this decision. Tell them that they must have all data and complete information before they make a decision. Do it before it’s too late!