Current Clackamas County Chair and candidate Charlotte Lehan has decided that getting the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce's endorsement isn't a great idea. Not because she doesn't have a shot at getting it. But because it doesn't pass the smell test. Today, she told them so.
In a letter to the Chamber, Lehan said that due to the high level of scrutiny on financial and ethical matters, her integrity requires a withdrawal from the process.
Why? Recent scrutiny of the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce activities has raised questions about whether they're appropriately using public funds. According to a city audit, funds that were supposed to be used strictly for tourism have gone to the salary for the Chamber's CEO, Steve Gilmore. Tourism funds were also allegedly used to pay Gilmore's Rotary Club dues.
Issues around Gilmore's recording revenues and expenditures is also under scrutiny.
Lehan's campaign sent me an additional statement, "It would be more appropriate if the Wilsonville Chamber did not receive over $150,000 annually from Clackamas County and the City of Wilsonville and then promote an endorsement process with the Mayor, City Councilors, County Commissioners and Commission Chair who administer these funds. Good ethics require ‘clear bright lines’. The lines in this case are quite unclear, and require an ethically careful public official to not seek the endorsement of beneficiary organizations. Therefore I will not seek the endorsement of the Wilsonville Chamber."
It will be interesting to see if Lehan's opponent holds himself to that high an ethical standard.