Fitzgerald’s office reached that determination based on a thorough legal review of allegations that Jackson’s work on behalf of a consulting firm posed a conflict of interest, he said in a statement.
Local resident Bill Love had alleged that Jackson failed to disclose his working relationship with Del Fortner Consulting, which has represented American Potash in its dealings with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Love said this week that he plans to keep a close eye on Jackson’s ties with the consultant.
“We need to look at future proposals that come before the council and how they relate to Lynn Jackson’s affiliation with American Potash,” he said Jan. 22.
But he indicated that he was ready to put the current dispute behind him.
“I don’t know if I want to beat this horse anymore,” he said.
Jackson, in turn, said he feels vindicated by Fitzgerald’s determination.
“I knew I hadn’t broken any of the rules,” he said Jan. 22.
In the future, Jackson said, people should be more careful before they imply that their elected officials are unethical.
Jackson first declared his relationship with the consultant in October 2012, and he said he thoroughly reviewed conflict of interest statutes and ordinances before he decided to run for office.
“I was very well aware of what they (said) from the get-go,” he said.
Moreover, Jackson noted that American Potash has never sought the county council’s approval on any matters. In the event that it ever does, he said he would recuse himself from voting on any related action items.
Love came forward with his allegations last November, after the county council voted to form a three-person committee that is developing a range of potential federal land designations for future consideration. Jackson later volunteered to serve on the committee.
The council eventually plans to forward a list of recommended designations on to Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, who is leading congressional efforts to resolve longstanding public land use conflicts in the region.
Before it does, however, the council is continuing to seek the public’s written suggestions on potential recommendations to Bishop’s office.
Love said he remains concerned that the council is not involving the public in the process. In particular, he questioned why the county will not accept comments via email.
“In over 20 years of working with Grand County, I have never seen an instance where the council has tried to restrict public input by accepting only letters and not emails on any subject that comes before the county,” Love said.
But Jackson said the county is actively encouraging residents to comment on the public lands initiative. Anyone who is inclined to write an email could simply print the message out and then mail a copy to the council’s office, he said.