Mineral Wells Index
Recently appointed to the Municipal Solid Waste and Resource Recovery Advisory Council as a representative of the general public, Mineral Wells resident James McQuaid has decided to rescind his name from consideration for the position.
As a representative of the general public, McQuaid was called upon last Thursday “to resign from the council because of his conflict of interest with his wife being in the waste industry,” commented Robin Schneider, executive director of Texas Campaign for the Environment.
McQuaid’s wife, Audie McQuaid, is employed by Trinity Waste as a municipal marketing manager.
“The Municipal Solid Waste and Resource Recovery Advisory Council is just an appointed-type position,” said James McQuaid. “I was originally told it wasn’t going to be a problem. … I was later advised otherwise.”
He told the Index he had already submitted a letter to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality asking to have his name removed from consideration.
“I’ll probably hear something [Tuesday],” he added.
Schneider was satisfied with his decision.
“We’re very pleased he’s made this decision,” she said. “This appointment is critical. … The public needs someone without his huge conflict of interest.”
Gary Trim, with TCEQ Waste Permits Division, said he wasn’t surprised by McQuaid’s decision.
“There were some concerns on his appointment,” Trim noted. “It’s an unfortunate situation.”
TCEQ Spokesman Andy Saenz said they weren’t aware of the conflict of interest until it was brought to their attention.
“We understand he was very qualified [but] that piece of information was very important to know,” Saenz said.
In future applications, Saenz noted they would ask applicants about potential or perceived conflicts of interest. With the position now available, Saenz said they have a couple of options to consider.
“We can go back to the original list,” he said. “If we don’t feel like there’s enough in the pool, we can ask for more applicants. That decision will be made soon.”
There were five applications other than McQuaid’s submitted for consideration and the TCEQ has two opportunities to address this issue, said Saenz.
“I just thought it’d be an opportunity to serve my community,” McQuaid said. “I’m still interested in doing that.”
The 18-member council was set up in 1983 by the 69th Legislative Session to advise the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on solid waste management and resource recovery. Members include representatives from various sized cities and counties and municipalities, solid waste professionals and a representative from a private environmental conversation organization, among others.
“There needs to be some balance [of representation],” commented Norman Hall, of Lake Palo Pinto, another applicant for the position. “The whole idea was to provide a broader representation … of the community at large.”