Telos, housed in the building at right, earns $50 a month for each of 164 commuter parking spaces. By comparison, Christian Fellowship Church on Beaumeade Circle gets $6.77 a month for each of 300 spaces.
We turn today to dictionary.com, our online advisor when we are confused about the precise meaning of a subjective term such as “conflict of interest.”
What happens when the vice president of a corporation becomes the third successive vice chairman of the board of county supervisors who tax it, and in the case of Telos of Ashburn and the County of Loudoun, enter with it into a supernumerary relationship by which Telos profits $98,400 a year? In Virginia’s present climate of heightened political ethics, is this contract viewed as actual conflict of interest, or merely the perception of one?
Ralph Buona has been Ashburn supervisor for four years and an employee of Telos Corporation for 21 years; his present title there is senior vice president of corporate business development.
Now some observers, including Buona’s challenger for the Republican nomination for Ashburn district supervisor, ask why, with eight local institutions including five churches leasing commuter parking spaces to Loudoun County, Telos earns by far the highest fee: $50 monthly for each of 164 spaces.
Each one is marked with yellow paint to distinguish it from Telos employee parking in the same lot at the north end of Ashburn Road. At 4:30 p.m. on a recent weekday, 24 of 164 commuter spaces were occupied by cars whose drivers were, presumably, hard at work in the District of Columbia. The other 140 were vacant. At 5:15 p.m., a full-size Loudoun Transit bus pulled up and discharged one passenger, leaving 23 cars in the commuter lot with 141 empty spaces.
The question is posed in the context of an impending May 2 Republican convention that will nominate as Ashburn supervisor one of two contenders: Buona, the incumbent, or Joe Scalione, the challenger. Both are Air Force Academy graduates with masters degrees.
In a recent email to Republican delegates who are qualified to vote on May 2, Dulles Supervisor Matt Letourneau says Buona recused himself from discussion and vote on the contracted parking spaces.
Neither Letourneau nor Dictionary.com resolves the prickly question about perception vs. actual conflict of interest, but such wild variation in pricing underused commuter parking in Loudoun County is a strong endorsement for regular attendance at the Methodist, Presbyterian and Catholic churches who subsize it so generously. At $6.77 per space, Christian Fellowship Church off Loudoun Parkway also beats Telos’s parking rate by 86%.
Conflict of interest (noun):
1. the circumstance of a public officeholder, business executive, or the like, whose personal interests might benefit from his or her official actions or influence. (courtesy of Dictionary.com)
Cost per space per month / number of spaces:
- 1. Telos: $50.00 month / 164 spaces
- 2. Broadlands South: $41.67 month / 150 spaces
- 3. Lowes Island: $35.00 month / 65 spaces
- 4. Christian Fellowship Church: $ 6.77 month / 300 spaces
- 5. Galilee United Methodist: $ 5.21 month / 48 spaces
- 6. St. Andrew Presbyterian: $ 3.06 month / 68 spaces
- 7. Crossroads United Methodist: Free / 90 spaces
- 8. Our Lady of Hope: Free / 150 spaces
(Source: Loudoun County Office of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure)