Spotsylvania County school board member Dawn Shelley recently won a new car from a raffle sponsored by the Rappahannock area YMCA. The car is a 2022 Nissan Kicks SV valued at over $22000 MSRP.
The problem is the apparent conflict of interest. Shelley is an elected school board member that won a $22000 prize from an organization that holds a contract with the school division. Dawn Shelley, who was the school board chair in 2021, voted to approve a contract with the YMCA for childcare services in May 2021. The contract started on August 1, 2021, with option years. The next option year begins on August 1, 2022. We have included screenshots below.
The optics and timing of all of this is suspicious. Public officials such as Dawn Shelley are prohibited from accepting gifts of value because of conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest. Virginia Code 2.2-3103 states that “No officer or employee of a state or local governmental or advisory agency shall…….
- “Offer or accept any money or other thing of value for or in consideration of the use of his public position to obtain a contract for any person or business with any governmental or advisory agency”
- “Accept any money, loan, gift, favor, service, or business or professional opportunity that reasonably tends to influence him in the performance of his official duties.”
- “Accept a gift from a person who has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance of the officer’s or employee’s official duties under circumstances where the timing and nature of the gift would cause a reasonable person to question the officer’s or employee’s impartiality in the matter affecting the donor.”