Alleged conflict of interest revised

A thorny subject related to an alleged conflict of interest was revisited by St. Joseph County commissioners during their executive committee meeting May 14.

The issue started in April, when county commissioners voted 4-3 to remove Dennis Allen from the board’s law enforcement committee. Commissioners voting for removal agreed Allen is in a position of conflict as a candidate for sheriff while also serving as chairman of the three-member committee.

Allen, who spent 20 years as undersheriff during Matt Lori’s tenure, had served as law enforcement committee chairman since joining the county board in 2017. Meanwhile, he announced last May his bid to succeed Mark Lillywhite as St. Joseph County sheriff.

Allen vehemently maintained he never used his position as committee chair to benefit his election campaign.

The matter was rehashed last week, when commissioner Terry Conklin broached the subject. It centered on whether to direct county administrator Teresa Cupp to research possibly adding into board rules a statement related to conflict of interest in such a situation.

As they did during their preliminary discussion, both sides stood by their claims: Conklin insisting there is a conflict of interest and Allen passionately stating to the contrary.

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One comment

  1. The “appearance” of a conflict is all it takes. This was absolutely the thing to do and if Mr. Allen disputes it he’s probably not the best candidate.

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