I am writing this letter in my capacity as CEO of Illumination Technologies California (ITC) and would like to address an understandable concern expressed by some about the potential conflict of interest related to ITC’s proposed fire siren cell project currently before the city of Calistoga (“City of Calistoga to consider emergency sirens/cell towers,” July 23).

While I work hard as your mayor to benefit our city on a daily basis, it is also necessary to have a full-time job. I have been very fortunate over the years to have been offered employment opportunities, but one of my criteria has always been that there be a public benefit. The position with ITC meets that requirement — and allows me to remain in Calistoga.

When we first considered offering our program to the city, the perceived conflict of interest was an important concern of mine. While it may have been easier to simply avoid doing business here, I felt strongly about the benefit of the program and did not want Calistoga to be deprived of the opportunity to consider what would be offered elsewhere.

A great deal of time and effort has gone into mitigating any direct or perceived conflict of interest. These measures include my not participating in any discussions or deliberations between city council members or city staff during project application consideration, and I cannot and will not participate in city-sponsored meetings or hearings. Legal counsel has been consulted, and I even required inclusion of a clause in my employment agreement that excludes receipt of any compensation directly related to any projects within the City of Calistoga.

We feel that the proposal currently before the city offers significant benefits. ITC has been providing public safety benefits to communities worldwide for over 18 years, creating partnerships that improve safety and quality of life for residents at no cost to cities and towns.

If Calistoga and its residents choose to decline this opportunity, we will simply continue our work with other municipalities.

I take my responsibility as mayor very seriously and have worked tirelessly to help improve the health, safety and quality of life of our community. I believe that my actions over the years have built trust and credibility, always striving to base my decisions and interactions according to high moral and ethical standards. My reputation is important to me and realize that the proposed project could pose a risk to that, but I feel the overall benefit to our community is worth that risk.

Chris Canning

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Chris Canning is CEO of Illumination Technologies California.

Canning also serves as Mayor of Calistoga.