I'm writing to express my concerns and alarm with the Charter Review Commission currently convening.

It is their duty, with complete impartiality, to scrutinize our city's charter to see what might be lacking or need fixing and with reason and rationale make recommendations to Whitehall City Council, that body which then decides if any or all of those recommendations go to the ballot for residents to decide on.

Unfortunately, due to the quiet and unadvertised process in which it was assembled and varying relational conflicts, I feel these conflicts raise concerns of bias shared between these two bodies -- in particular, recommendations that may be made by the commission that ultimately stand to benefit City Hall officials. This is the problem with conflicts of interest and why they must always be heeded. Simply said, it throws into question the fairness and integrity of decisions made due to bias the conflict's presence engenders.

The Markulla Center for Applied Ethics says, "As the Institute for Local Self-Government puts it, 'The law is aimed at the perception, as well as the reality, that a public official's personal interests may influence a decision.' Even the appearance of impropriety undermines the public's faith that the process is fair."

The Ethics Resource Center in Virginia says, "Democracies and free markets absolutely rely on the integrity of their systems for the free flow of information and objective decision-making. Conflicts of interest act as a cancer that eats away at those institutions."

As a longtime vocal activist for ethical moral principles in Whitehall government, I wanted to inform the residents of this concern and warn them to watch closely what the commission recommends and what the council do.

Gerald Dixon