Thu April 18, 2013
Proposed Changes To City Ethics Code Shaking Up City Council
San Antonio City Attorney Michael Bernard has proposed changes to the city's ethics code and some council members would like time to review the proposed changes.
As of right now, city council is expected to vote on the changes in early May.
Among the most drastic recommended changes to the city's ethics code is adding a compliance officer to be hired by the city manager.
Bernard said that takes the burden off him because, as he told the city council, it's hard to be the lawyer and the client.
Bernard said the person would receive complaints, investigate them and then present to the Ethics Review Board cases that may arise.
Currently, Bernard said city officers may have a financial interest in a contract with an entity to which the city council selects or nominates members of its governing body. A change would prohibit direct or indirect contracts in those cases.
Another all new proposal is commissioning the city auditor to review money a council member or staff is given.
"Look at the financial disclosures of the staff and the financial disclosures of the council and the campaign reports. And just audit to see whether there's conflicts or other ethical issues that need to be addressed in that process," Bernard said.
Several council members took issue with the proposals, saying they delve too far into personal matters.
District 10 Councilman Carlton Soules said he'd be in violation for not reporting gifts given to his kids from their godparent as the changes are currently written.
Soules also said he doesn't like how part of the changes would make staff members who come under ethical scrutiny answer to the city manager while the council would have a different process for ethics violations.
The Source - April 16, 2013