It is extremely clear that Los Alamos County has no intent of resolving the issue with UnQuarked in a reasonable, fair manner. The only intended outcome is the County protecting its own employees, whether there was any wrongdoing or not.
This has been made clear by the “hearing” that took place just the other day. The County Manager, Harry Burgess was allowed to remain on the hearing board without even listening to the reasoning brought by the representatives from UnQuarked. Mr. Burgess oversees the Community Development Department where the red tag was initiated. He therefore has a clear and vested interest in the outcome of of these proceedings. If HIS personnel did wrong, it reflects poorly on the County Manager. If they are “cleared” of any wrongdoing, there is no damage to his department. Yet he sits in a position to make the choice whether his personnel did wrong or not. This, in my opinion is a clear cut example of a conflict of interest.
If one were to look back in the past 12-14 months and identify locations that have had issues with CDD, there have been several. At first, I didn’t put much stock in the issues. I wrote them off as isolated issues that possibly the business owner may not have understood the requirements. As these number of cases rose, I started to take notice. This kind of publicity reflects extremely poorly on CDD and it has been harder and harder to ignore. It doesn’t paint a good picture going in to this scenario.
There is a way for this to be fair. Mr. Burgess could be recused, and someone with New Mexico building code experience could be brought in that is agreed to by both the County and the UnQuarked representatives. From there, every issue that UnQuarked has brought to light should be discussed, and decided if there was wrongdoing individually, not as a whole.
I have zero expectations that this issue will be resolved fairly. The County will continue to protect itself and its employees without hesitation, instead of actually listening. Keep watch, and take notice. Demand accountability, expect fairness, and accept nothing less.