Daniel M. Daugherty, president of West View Borough
Council, has a fine record of service to the borough as an
elected official. He has been on council 16 years. He has
served as its president for the past 10 years.
Last week, Daugherty began serving West View in an
additional way, as a paid full-time administrator for the
West View Water Authority and that raises some
The authority supplies water to most of the North Hills,
but remains based in the borough where it originated 43
years ago. In his new job, Daugherty will be second in
command; his title is assistant executive director, Richard
R. Powell is executive director.
Can Daugherty wear two hats and not be caught in a
conflict of interest? Maybe, but at the very least, he needs
to walk a fine line.
Indeed, there may not be legal conflict of interest at
this point, as claimed by Daugherty and Fred E. Baxter Jr.,
solicitor for borough council and for the authority. But
lets speculate about the future.
Borough council has the power to appoint members to the
authoritys board of directors. The five directors, who
are not paid, are responsible for the overall Operation of
Even if Daugherty excuses himself from voting on future
appointments or re-appointments of authority directors, he
remains a target for conflict of interest charges as long as
he remains on council.
Daugherty would be smart to render his council seat or
at least not seek re-election this year. As long as he
attempts to be both an elected and appointed official, he
will leave the door open to public mistrust.
There is no doubt the borough and the authority have
been closely aligned for years. In the past,former council
members have been appointed to the authoritys board of
directors. Borough council and the authority board have the
But, the current situation is too uncomfortable.
West Views Borough Manager Harry Gruener also is a
member of the authoritys board of directors. No
problem there. However, as the paid borough manager, Gruener
is answerable to borough council, of which Daugherty is
president. At the same time, Daugherty is indirectly
answerable to Gruener as a member of the authoritys
board, currently its vice chairman.
No matter how dedicated each of these men is, and
despite their integrity, such rotating of roles could hurt
their independence. At the very least, it may damage their
credibility in the eyes of the public.