Barbs between surveyor candidates continue
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent October 29, 2012 11:14PM
George Van Til, Lake County Surveyor.
Updated: December 1, 2012 4:31PM
Republican Lake County Surveyor candidate Eric Krieg called claims by incumbent democratic surveyor George Van Til that his job as an engineer at BP Whiting will be a conflict of interest when dealing with BP and the three other pipeline companies who do work in the county is a non-issue.
The exchange is the latest in an acrimonious campaign pitting Van Til, a life-long Lake County resident and career politician who has served as full-time surveyor for 20 years, against Krieg, a political newcomer and region transplant who plans to continue his private-sector career while serving as surveyor if elected.
Monday Van Til charged Krieg not only would have to recuse himself from any dealings with his company, BP, but also would have to step away from dealings with three other companies whose pipelines cross Lake County: Enbridge, Buckeye and Marathon.
“These three pipeline companies which actively crisscross our county are competitors of the company Krieg works full time for. Anything less than recusing himself here also would be unfair to the people I serve,” Van Til said through a press release.
Van Til said negotiations between the county and the pipeline companies can be contentious at times and residents should have their elected official representing them. If Krieg must recuse himself, it would be a disservice to taxpayers.
Krieg disagreed that a conflict of interest would exist for him in dealing with BP or the other companies. As a licensed engineer he is held to a higher standard of ethics and must put the health and safety of the public first and foremost, he said.
“If I don’t do that, my license can be taken away and I can lose my livelihood,” Krieg said.
He said the other companies would not view his employment at BP as a conflict of interest because he would apply the standards that regulate pipelines to everyone the same. Krieg said those companies would follow the standards and he, as surveyor, would not deviate from requiring those standards for any company.
“I don’t think (there will be a conflict) because of the standards,” Krieg said.