Update: Why was Burlington Code Enforcement Director Offering Unsolicited Help on Bove’s Facebook Page?
Update: it has been made clear we have not been as specific as possible regarding our concerns. Post updated to reflect this.
Relationships in small town can be tough, especially when the person whose job is to enforce the laws is overly friendly with a person whose business has repeatedly broken said laws. Is this sort of personal Facebook outreach given to low-income tenants who have been preyed upon by the Boves? Or are the Boves’ Facebook friends and have a connection that most of us do not have? And how can we trust that in Burlington that there won’t be conflicts of interest* between the political powerful and wealthy landlords?
Our concern is with not just a potential conflict of interest, which does not require any malice or ill intent, but also with the appearance of a conflict. Our concerns are that Mark Bove is an owner in Bove Brothers Realty, and that there could be unconscious bias towards one’s Facebook friend or their brother.
By offering unsolicited help through a personal Facebook page, this interaction leads to an appearance of conflict of interest, where some folks have access to local leaders in a way that others do not. This is why we bring up our concerns, for an appearance of a conflict can be just as damaging as an actual conflict.
*“A conflict of interest is a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgement or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest.”