Cheyenne Mayor, Council Member Clash Over Loaner Truck
Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr says there is nothing wrong with her driving a personalized Ram truck that was loaned to her for Cheyenne Frontier Days, and that she 'probably won't put 20 miles" on the vehicle before returning it.
But Ward III Councilman Rocky Case says that while he is not sure about whether the use of the loaner vehicle violates any laws, "the optics are not good" and he personally would not have accepted the use of the vehicle had he been mayor.
The vehicle in question was loaned to the mayor by Cowboy Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram on Friday morning. The mayor says the dealership's new owner, 'Dealing Doug' Moreland, thought the mayor should have a loaner vehicle for CFD, since his dealership is providing Frontier Days committee chairs with loaner vehicles to use during the annual western celebration.
Dodge Motors is a corporate sponsor of CFD.
In a Tuesday morning interview with Glenn Woods on Townsquare Media radio stations including KGAB-AM, the mayor said the use of the vehicle doesn't violate any state law regarding public officials accepting gifts, in part because she will be returning it well before the 30-day limit imposed by the law for returning gifts.
In regard to criticism on social media that accepting the gift looked bad because of a land deal involving the dealership that needed a green light from the city, the mayor said that deal has already gone through the needed process and so has nothing to do with her accepting the vehicle for CFD.
But in a Monday morning interview with Woods, councilman Case took a different view of the situation. He said that while he wasn't sure of the legalities of accepting the loaner vehicle, the mayor's acceptance of it certainly does not pass the eye test in terms of optics for a public official.
Case recalled that in his days as a pharmaceutical drug salesman, valuable gifts to potential customers were strictly prohibited. He noted that at one-time drug companies used to give doctors and other potential customers Super Bowl tickets and other expensive gifts, adding "those days are gone."
Councilman Case also said he has heard that at one point the idea had been put forward of giving the mayor a loaner vehicle specifically wrapped with the Frontier Days logo, but that CFD rejected that idea.
He says he understands that the CFD response was along the lines of "No, we aren't going to have the mayor driving around in a CFD vehicle. The optics don't look good."