Mayor Brinkman Refuses to Reveal Conflict
Material Interest ConcealedEmeryville's Mayor Kurt Brinkman misrepresented himself and may have run afoul of the law Tuesday night as he voted to require automatic fire extinguishing sprinkler systems in certain new and existing structures in Emeryville without notifying the City Attorney that his company, Intrepid Electronics, is in the business of fire sprinkler alarm installation in town. Mr Brinkman, as Intrepid's CEO, has material interest in fire sprinkler alarm installation and he stands to profit from his vote, contrary to his denial at Tuesday's Council meeting.
City Council members are required to notify the City Attorney if there is a possible conflict of interest such as this and recuse themselves by declining to vote if the vote could conceivably net the Council member financial benefit. Usually, city attorneys rule on the side of recusal if the vote is questionable or if there is even possible public perception of a conflict of interest.
Mayor Brinkman told a citizen at the meeting that he did not need to recuse himself because he is not in the fire sprinkler alarm business, a false statement according to his company's own website. A phone call to Intrepid confirmed this, "Fire sprinkler alarms? That's what we do" said 'Cody', an employee.
Mr Brinkman's vote, together with his colleagues, now makes it a requirement that new structures over 3000 square feet in Emeryville must be fitted with fire sprinklers (with alarms) and even with existing buildings, including single family detached homes and condos, if there is a renovation with an increase in value in excess of 50% of the replacement cost of the house or unit.
The mayor's company had previously been headquartered in Emeryville but he has subsequently moved to Oakland. Intrepid continues to get a lot of Emeryville contracts according to the employee Cody. Mayor Brinkman refused to comment to the Tattler other than to continue to allege his company doesn't install fire sprinkler alarms.
U-Tube video courtesy of the Emeryville Property Owners Association