As others see it: Sviggum was right to choose one of two jobsUniversity of Minnesota Regent Steve Sviggum made the correct decision Thursday when he resigned and ended the conflict-of-interest questions over his university and legislative positions.
By: West Central Tribune, Worthington Daily Globe
University of Minnesota Regent Steve Sviggum made the correct decision Thursday when he resigned and ended the conflict-of-interest questions over his university and legislative positions.
Sviggum has faced this conflict-of interest challenge since January when he took a new position as communications director with the Senate Republican Caucus.
This was the second conflict-of interest situation for Sviggum. Earlier this year, Sviggum resigned his teaching position at the University’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs when the position was ruled a conflict of interest with his role as regent.
The unfortunate part of this is that Sviggum, a former legislator, refused to acknowledge the potential for conflict of interest and claimed he could juggle his regent and legislative role. The fact that Sviggum believed he could handle both positions and could not understand the conflict of interest was even more reason that he could not remain in both positions.
Two legal opinions and a three-member regent committee had earlier ruled that Sviggum’s dual roles were in conflict. The full regents board Thursday agreed, and called for Sviggum to choose.
This conflict was never a question about Sviggum’s integrity or honesty. He has a long record of service to Minnesota institutions.
It was a question of the two positions he held that had significant potential for conflict. Unfortunately, the Legislature and the university are at times at odds. This would be an unacceptable position for Sviggum.
Sviggum made the right decision to end this conflict of interest.