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Letter to the Editor: Conflicts of interest?

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First, it gives me no pleasure to write this...but this is our city.

So, I understand Murfreesboro City Council is close to appointing Susan Young to finish her late husband's term? That makes perfect sense, as who else would share a more intimate knowledge of Doug's conflicts of interest?

As everyone knows (because all of M'boro was there) John Harney gave a beautiful eulogy at Mr. Young's funeral. It was a heartfelt remembrance of two great friends, spanning several decades of friendship and business. From growing up together at First Presbyterian Church, to being fraternity brothers at MTSU, to owning property together presently...they were indeed, life-long, best friends.

So where's the rub?

John Harney is the most successful commercial real estate agent in Rutherford County, and brings business in front of the M'boro Planning Commission and City Council quite often.

Doug Young served as the vice-chair of the Planning Commission, vice-mayor on City Council, and was at one time the chair of the Board of Zoning Appeals.

The fact is, according to Mr. Harney himself, the most prominent commercial real estate agent in the city has for decades, shared personal and business dealings with our former vice mayor.

That is a massive conflict of interest, and my concern is that his wife (who as noted by her supporters, has naturally been intimately involved in Mr. Young's political career) would share the same conflicts of interest.

The question now is, are we just going to accept this? Shouldn't we at least ask Mrs. Young about her family's relationship with Mr. Harney? Do they still own property together? Do current members of City Council understand just how conflicted her voting interests could be? It's safe to assume that much like the way Mr. Young got his first seat on Council, once Susan Young gets appointed, she will no doubt be there for a long time. What will start as her completing Mr. Young's 3rd term, will probably lead to a few terms for herself (see also: our current school board). That would mean Murfreesboro would be partially represented by a family with conflicts of interests for decades.

Finally, I ask whether or not this would be a story if it happened on a state or federal level? Of course it would be. So, can someone in local media (even if satire) acknowledge this?!

We in this community often talk about the "good ole boys" who really run this town, and we do so with a roll of the eyes or a wink. We say we want better, but when moments like this arise, local media loses its nerve and voters (never paying too much attention anyways) just accept what's been given to them.

Over the next week, we have a chance to rid ourselves of a "good ole boy", or at a bare minimum, make them answer some tough questions. We owe it to the city to press this issue.

We deserve better.

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