Mayor Chris Beutler said today (Monday) that the “good government” resolution being introduced to the City Council will end conflicts of interest at City Hall and create a level playing field for contract bids. If the Council passes the resolution, voters will decide May 7 whether to ban elected City officials and City Department Directors from having contracts with the City.Mayor Beutler said the resolution is aimed at setting an ethical standard and seeks to avoid personal gain, at the expense of the voters, for any elected official. If passed, the Charter Amendment would prohibit elected officials and department heads from having a “significant financial interest” in a contract or business dealing with the City. That interest would include having at least $5,000 or a five-percent ownership in the company holding a contract. In the case of a publically-traded company seeking to do business with the City, the ban would not apply unless the official owned more than five percent of the company’s stock.
When the contract ban was discussed several years ago, the Mayor said there was concern that it seemed directed at certain individuals. He said May is a good time to vote on the issue because no current City Council members have a contract with the City.
Mark Whitehead, whose company has a contract with City, has declared his candidacy for the Council, but the Mayor said it would be unfair to subject him to a new set of rules. To solve the issue, the resolution language makes the contract ban effective June 7, 2013. If Whitehead is elected, the City Charter will not require him to give up his contract.
The City Council will hold a public hearing on the resolution at its meeting Monday February 25. That meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at the County-County Building, 555 S. 10th Street.