Malden Mayor Gary Christenson plans to file a complaint with the state Ethics Commission against City Councilor Neil Kinnon, claiming he's trying to use his elected position to benefit the charter school he founded.
Kinnon criticized a proposed relocation site for the city's public works yard and some City Hall offices on Eastern Avenue during a City Council committee meeting Tuesday, Christenson said. The parcel abuts a newly built athletics field belonging to Mystic Valley Regional Charter School, and the school had previously looked into buying the land, Christenson said.
Kinnon is the chairman of the charter school board of trustees. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
"He's conflicted," Christenson said Wednesday morning. "He needs to recuse himself going forward."
The 2-acre site, owned by Boston Steel Co., was the only one offered to the city after it announced a request for proposals earlier this year, Christenson said. If purchased by the city, it would be developed into a new public works yard and offices for a City Hall annex, Christenson said, which would include the city's planning, engineering, inspection, permitting, and information systems offices.
A panel, appointed by Christenson, is tasked with reviewing relocation options for the public works department, currently location on Commercial Street. It is expected to make a recommendation to the mayor early next year, he said.
For Kinnon - who is not on the panel - to discuss the proposal before a recommendation is made is premature, Christenson said.
"Here we are finally making progress to address this issue and he has to immerse himself when the time isn't right," the mayor said.
Christenson plans to file a formal complaint with the state Ethics Commission, claiming Kinnon is violating state law by using his elected position to further the interest of the charter school.
"I was hoping we wouldn't have to travel down this road," he said.
The panel reviewing the relocation includes city councilors Barbara Murphy and Neil Anderson, city employee Kevin Duffy, and Debbie Burke and Steve Wishoski of the Malden Redevelopment Authority.