The Buffalo News editorial regarding County Legislator Joe Desmond's desire to serve as an NFTA commissioner was both insulting and silly.
The News seems obsessed with the concept of conflict of interest, which, correctly understood, involves the use of one's public position for private gain. It does not refer to instances where competing interests, in which an official has no financial stake, vie for the official's attention.
The News insults Desmond by questioning his loyalty to Erie County. Does The News really think that his serving, without financial gain, on the NFTA will lead him to ignore the interests of Erie County?
And The News is just plain silly when it asks what Desmond would do when his district's and county interests conflict. What do Nowak, LaFalce and Paxon do when their districts' interests conflict with the national interest? They use their judgment. This is the stuff that most legislators face all the time.
Misusing the concept of conflict of interest to cloak gratuitous insults and naive questions does not further our understanding of the real issues involved. Desmond should be congratulated for his willingness to step into a difficult situation and accept responsibility. That's not conflict of interest. That's leadership.
MICHAEL V. HASELSWERDT