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Conflicts of Interest and Hypocrisy

Winter Park City Commissioners and acknowledged best friends Beth Dillaha and Margie Bridges have been consistently and totally opposed to including people on City Boards who make a living through any connections to real estate. For example, they fought the appointment of real estate executive Pitt Warner to the Ethics Board and then tried to get him removed. Beth Dillaha and Margie Bridges share a conviction that anyone with a possible financial interest in an issue, however remote, must have a conflict of interest and, therefore, it is unethical in their view for such people to serve on City Boards.


Beth Dillaha and Margie Bridges supported having local landscape architects Stephen Pategas and Thomas McMacken write new landscape and irrigation rules that will impact every Winter Park property owner. These rules are currently being considered by the City Commission. Drafts of these new rules can be viewed here beginning on page 185.

Perhaps Beth Dillaha and Margie Bridges should look more closely at the incentives and interests of these landscape architects.

Before the reactionaries start getting their blood pressure up let me note that I have had substantive conversations with both Stephen Pategas and Thomas McMacken in the past and have no doubt that both men are professionals in their field who sincerely believe they are doing a service to our community in proposing these new regulations.

However, is it not true that authoring landscape and irrigation regulations gives these men a competitive advantage in getting new business from Winter Park residents and businesses? Is it not true that these landscape and irrigation regulations are sufficiently detailed so as to require a property owner to hire a landscape architect to assist in planning required to be in compliance with the new regulations? Is it therefore not true that the financial interests of these two men are directly served by their involvement in and authorship of these proposed landscape and irrigation rules?

Perhaps Beth Dillaha and Margie Bridges, given their strident views on all this, would have considered asking Stephen Pategas and Thomas McMacken to serve the city in another capacity so as to remove suspicion of any conflict of interest. But, they did not do this and in fact wanted these two men write the new rules.

Perhaps each of us should look up the definition of the word: hypocrisy and learn how to apply it correctly.

Posted in Ethics, Policy.

2 Responses

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  1. Anonymous says

    I am convinced this landscape plan is merely a cover to restrict development. These women are dangerous to the economy of Winter Park. All regulations add to the cost of building and remodeling in Winter Park. Of course, they are living in established homes so the rules don’t apply to them. Have you noticed how all of their rules are meant to discourage building and development? They are making rules to satisfy their pet peeves. They need to be defeated ASAP.

  2. Concerned Board Member says

    These women are doing more than putting up roadblocks for real estate professionals. They are recommending reducing the size of all city boards with little if any evaluation. I know for a fact the board I serve on did not so much as received a phone call let alone any type of interview as to how a reduction of members would change the effectiveness of the board. This appears to me as a way to take away the voice of the people who have an interest and desire to make a difference in Winter Park as a volunteer.

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