Next Mayor Weighs Balance Between Public Office, Business

2013-10-05 14:52:54
Becoming mayor is something Doug Nicholls never aspired to as a college
But today, he’s marking off the days until he takes office on Jan. 1 as the next
mayor for the city of Yuma, a position for which he won overwhelming support
from voters during the primary election Aug. 27.
He ran for office, he said, because “I felt called to serve. I believe I can help the
It does come at some sacrifice for him, though.
Not only will his public service take time away from his family and his other interests, including Boy Scouts and his
involvement in his church, it also will directly impact the business he’s worked hard to build over the last nine years.
Nicholls, a civil engineer, is the owner of Core Engineering Group, which provides civil engineering and land surveying
services to the Yuma area.
And one of his main clients is the city of Yuma.
“I do a significant amount of work for the city,” he said. One such recent project is the Yuma Valley Area Park now
under construction. And he works on a number of CIP (Capital Improvement Program) projects.
That raises the question of how he intends to balance his duties as mayor and responsibilities as a business owner
while avoiding any potential conflict of interest between the two.
State statute states: “Any public officer or employee of a public agency who has, or whose relative has, a substantial
interest in any contract, sale, purchase or service to such public agency shall make known that interest in the official
records of such public agency and shall refrain from voting upon or otherwise participating in any manner as an officer
or employee in such contract, sale or purchase.”
Nicholls said he intends to handle such situations the same way he did when he served on the Yuma City Council in