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Watchdog group: Auburn DRI committee members could have conflicts of interest

Half of all the members of the committee chosen to guide the city of Auburn through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative process could have potential conflicts of interests arise as these members also represent organizations with projects vying for a piece of the $10 million funding.

The local planning committee is a board of 14 members who were selected by the state Department of State to develop the city’s strategic plan, which includes selecting the final list of projects that will be sent to the state for funding consideration. The members were chosen by the secretary of state based on recommendations from local, regional and state personnel, according to a DOS spokesperson.

“The individuals recommended are actively involved in many aspects of downtown revitalization, and have ideas and expertise to share that will help make the community’s strategic investment plan more effective,” the department said in an email to The Citizen.

Committee co-chair Auburn Mayor Michael Quill, Auburn City Councilor Dia Carbajal, East Hill Medical CEO Keith Cutler, Auburn Public Theater artistic director Angela Daddabbo, Cayuga Community College President Brian Durant, Nick’s Ride founder Joel Campagnola and Auburn Local Development Corp. member James Hutchinson all represent organizations that have projects up for DRI funding.

These seven committee members’ projects were included in the city’s winning DRI application. However, projects in the application are not guaranteed state funding, or even guaranteed to make it into the final list of projects. The local planning committee is tasked with deciding which projects, if any, from the DRI application will be chosen. There’s also the possibility that projects not in the original application could be included in the final list as well.

The Auburn Citizen:
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