There’s something rotten in Avon.
Chris Evans and Todd Goulding, who both work for Evans Chaffee Construction, moved out of Avon and are no longer full-time residents of Avon, but continue to cling to their Avon Town Council seats. Who can blame them when it’s such a lucrative source of business for their company?
Shortly after being elected to the Avon Town Council, Mssrs. Evans and Goulding became invaluable allies for Walgreens, fast-tracking town approvals even though the project didn’t comply with the town’s plans. Lo and behold, Evans Chaffee was awarded the construction contract for the Walgreens. It hardly seemed a coincidence.
Last fall, we and fellow Avon citizens asked Avon Town Council members to sign a pledge to the citizens of Avon that they would not accept work from Traer Creek if they approved amendments to the Traer Creek development that were much more generous than the settlement agreement required. Chris and Todd approved the generous Traer Creek amendments, ignored our request and didn’t sign the pledge. Traer Creek has still not closed the deal, so only time will tell if Evans Chaffee will have its back scratched by Traer Creek, as well.
But not to worry, Evans Chaffee has gotten a piece of the Wyndham time-share project, the only significant development to occur in Avon since the Walgreens. Evans and Goulding helped rush the Wyndham approval through the Town Council in record time, relinquishing public benefits in the process. Once again, they have been rewarded for their efforts with work for their company.
We are sure Mr. Evans and Mr. Goulding claim that they had no contracts with Walgreens or Wyndham until after their projects were approved. However, their track record is pretty impressive to developers and the pattern is pretty obvious to citizens.
Mssrs. Evans and Goulding should read the Avon Code of Ethics, which requires that public office not be used for personal gain so that the public has confidence in the integrity of its government. The Ethics Code also states under Conflicts of Interest that “A Town Officer shall not: (8) Perform any official act under circumstances which give rise to appearance of impropriety on the part of the officer.” This fact has apparently been lost on Mr. Evans since, while speaking about the Wyndham project, he was quoted in the Vail Daily saying, “Appearances are sometimes worse than reality.” In this case, appearances are reality and a clear violation of the Avon Code of Ethics.
It’s time for Evans and Goulding to do what is legal and honorable, avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest, compete for business on an even playing field with other companies that don’t have employees on the Town Council and resign their Town Council seats.
People who actually live in Avon full time should be making decisions affecting the future of our town, and those decisions should be in the best interests of all Avon citizens. It is time to restore confidence in our Avon elected officials by knowing that they have the best interests of the Citizens of Avon, and not their own pocketbooks, at heart.
Laurie Adler and Joe Walker