So much conflict … or is there?

COUNCILMAN TONY PETERSON (left) and Tracy Mayor Anthony Dimmers were in disagreement Monday as to a conflict of interest point involving the embattled councilman. Photo / Per Peterson

Tracy city councilman calls investigation into EDA board member a ‘witch hunt;’ mayor, city administrator say it’s part of the process

By Per Peterson

Almost a year-and-a-half after a councilman was nearly run out of office, things appear to be getting personal once again within the Tracy City Council.

Embattled councilman Tony Peterson once again finds himself in the eye of a storm, but this time, he isn’t the one on the proverbial hot seat. The council on Monday discussed and debated at length what its course should be in dealing with complaints filed against EDA board member Jeff Salmon.

At the center of the issue Monday was the potential of a conflict of interest, as Peterson is employed by Salmon. Twice at Monday’s meeting, Tracy Mayor Anthony Dimmers opened the door for discussion of any conflict of interest, claiming there is.

“I believe one does exist,” he said.

Peterson immediately took offense to Dimmers’ statement, saying his employment under Salmon has nothing to do with the facts of the case. Dimmers disagreed and asked Peterson to recuse himself from any discussion involving Salmon’s position on the EDA board.

“I have no financial gain in it one way or another,” said Peterson. “I was put here to vote my conscience and vote for the best interest of the city; I’ve been doing that for 10 years. I resent the fact that you assume that I have a conflict. I don’t know where you come up with that.”

Peterson continued to defend himself, saying he didn’t want his integrity impugned and declaring that he would not sit by while facing what he referred to as accusations against him.

“I am not accusing you of anything, Mr. Peterson,” Dimmers said. “I have been advised from our City Attorney that this is a clear conflict of interest.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.

Peterson has been here before, doesn’t like ‘smell’ of how things are proceeding

By Per Peterson

TRACY CITY COUNCILMAN TONY PETERSON emphatically makes a point during Monday’s city council meeting after it was suggested he recuse himself from future proceedings regarding the possible removal of an EDA board member.
Photo / Per Peterson

Tony Peterson has been in this seat before, but that only means he’s used to it. He surely doesn’t like it.

Peterson, the target of a 2017-18 campaign to remove him from the council, has returned to an unwanted spotlight, as the Tracy City Council has been charged with determining whether or not he should recuse himself from making any decision or vote on the future of an EDA board member who happens to be his boss.

“We’ll go back to the recall and all that other stuff, and the City Attorney told me I couldn’t vote on it because of a conflict of interest; we argued, I don’t know how many times, and when it was all said and done, he said ‘No, I was wrong, it wasn’t a conflict,’” Peterson said at Monday’s council meeting. “I made the motion to do the recall that year.”

Peterson felt attacked at Monday’s council meeting, saying he was offended by having his integrity put under scrutiny. As soon as the issue involving the potential ouster of EDA board member Jeff Salmon became a talking point, he went into defense mode.

“This offends me to the point where I’m boiling on the inside,” he told the council. “Ten years. Ten years, never missed a meeting. Ten years, never lost my temper, and tonight you’re making me lose my temper.”

While Peterson wore the bullseye Monday, he’s technically not the one at the center of yet another personal controversy at City Hall. His employer, Salmon, has been accused of a number of violations, stemming from his relationship with roofer Jamie Mattson, who did work for Salmon earlier this year.

Peterson said everyone on the council needs to have a copy of the investigation so they can make an informed decision, and that he would have no problem abstaining on the issue if all the facts are accurate.

“But if I see that we don’t have any investigation results — if I see that this is a witch hunt, or sour grapes for somebody — hell no, I’m not going to abstain,” he said. “If you’re going to bring this out in the public and chastise one (person), I intend to bring out the rest. And let me tell you something — you probably don’t want to hear what I have to say, but I’m going to say it. How deep you want to dig this hole?”

Peterson also shared his disdain for how the process has gone down, saying Salmon has already been tried and convicted in the minds of most.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.