What’s your opinion? Does Greg Pettis have a conflict of interest?

July 25th, 2013 | by James Folmer | Comments

tdsDesertOutlookGregPettisWhat’s your opinion?

Editorial in progress: We’re taking another look at the practices of Cathedral City Councilman Greg Pettis, who is president of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) board, the largest regional planning organization in the nation.

A recent iSun investigation found that while Pettis travels on the city expense account, which is supposed to be reimbursed by SCAG, he also submits salary invoices of $100 an hour to California State University, San Bernardino, where he is employed as a fundraising and public relations director.

He also lobbied SCAG to award a $50,000 grant for CSUSB’s Palm Springs Institute for Environmental Sustainability.

Those various roles prompted SCAG’s executive director, Hasan Ikhrata, to ask Pettis to sign a conflict of interest policy pledging that he would comply with federal and state requirements not to have “direct or indirect financial interest” in a deal between SCAG and the University Enterprise Corp.

Pettis defends himself by saying he’s just “multi-tasking.” He sent out a long explanation to his Facebook friends, including yours truly, pointing out that he does not benefit directly from the $50,000 grant.

But it sure seems to us that getting paid while lobbying for the grant is a direct financial interest. The attorney general should investigate the practice.

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