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K.G. official steps aside on votes 19 times page 2
King George supervisor doesn't vote on development-related projects because he hopes to bid on them later

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Date published: 8/30/2009


No one in Virginia's Attorney General's Office wanted to render an opinion.

Donald Hart, president of the Virginia Association of Counties, didn't want to discuss an individual either.

"In general, whether a supervisor abstains or not is a personal decision," he wrote in an e-mail.

Richard Schragger, a law professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, said, "It seems quite proper for the supervisor to recuse himself if he might have a potential conflict of interests."

If a supervisor bid on a job after he had voted to approve it, that certainly would be a conflict, Schragger said, "and would invite suspicions of collusion or corruption."

Whether Mullen is fairly representing his constituents is another matter, the professor added.

"The voters can decide if he is properly doing his job," Schragger said.

No other King George supervisors have disqualified themselves from voting while Mullen has been on the board. Nor have they missed as many meetings.

Since Mullen joined the board in January 2008, he has been absent 11 times. He has missed seven work sessions and four board meetings.

Six absences came in spring 2008, when Mullen suffered health problems. During part of that time, he traveled to Florida for medical treatment.

Sisson and Grzeika each missed four meetings in the same time period, and Howard missed one. Brooks hasn't missed any regular meetings or special work sessions.

Mullen said he believes he's representing the residents of the Dahlgren District, even if he doesn't vote on development projects.

"I'd be looking out for them a whole lot worse if I voted for [developers and their projects], then went to work for them," he said.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425
Email: cdyson@freelancestar.com

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