JAMESTOWN – The Mayor of Jamestown recently told WRFA there wont be a conflict of interest when a new restaurant owned and operated by the city’c current director of development opens later this month.
At the start of July, Vince DeJoy – who also serves as the city development director and head of the Jamestown Local Development Corporation (JLDC) – announced in early July he and his family are putting up the capital needed to open Jimmy’s Family Restaurant. The business will be located at the former Friendly’s location along South Main Street in Brooklyn Square. While DeJoy will serve as the owner of the new business, the day-to-day operations will be overseen by Restaurant manager Marcy Parenti.
DeJoy plans to stay on as city development director even after the new restaurant opens and some in the community have questioned if that poses a conflict of interest because there will likely be future restaurant projects in the city, which could be viewed as competition with Jimmy’s Family Restaurant.
During our July interview with Jamestown mayor Sam Teresi, the mayor indicated that DeJoy will be precluded from being involved in assisting with any restaurant development projects in the city, as well as any development efforts that are in the immediate proximity of his new business.
“He has already divorced himself from anything dealing with businesses that could be competitors of Jimmy’s Family Restaurant to projects that may be happening in our around that area of the city that could somehow be viewed to benefit his business, either directly or indirectly. All those things will be handed off to other city employees or other agents of the city to handle those issue,” Teresi said.
Teresi said the other city employees would be those who already work in the city development office. He also noted that it is not unprecedented for a city employee to have a private business interest in the same community where they serve as a public employee.
“There’s situations here in Jamestown and other communities where you have city employees that may have other business interests outside of their employment,” Teresi said. “For instance, lawyers that work for the city that have a private law practice may, from time to time, have clients of their own or clients within their firm that are either doing business with or against the city. The attorney needs to recuse him or herself from both ends of the deal and stay completely out of it. There may be instances where other city employees have businesses that they operate on the side. They make sure that they separate themselves from any conflicts and don’t do business with the city.”
No specific date has been announced for when Jimmy’s Family Restaurant will open, but DeJoy had said he’d like to see it open for business sometime in August.