Is the Bastrop City Council fast tracking a major revamp the city’s Ethics Ordinance?
We sure hope we’re wrong, but that is what it feels like to us. A “final draft proposal” is on the agenda of the full Council meeting tomorrow night. It starts at 6:30 pm at Bastrop City Hall. You can also watch it on the city’s Facebook page.
At the last Council Ethics Workshop held on July 11th, City Attorney David Bragg brought up two important issues. In laying out one of them he said, “I’ve never encountered the ‘good ol’ boys’”. Mr. Bragg proceeded with a suggestion that the statute of limitations for filing an ethics complaint be reduced from 1 year to just 6 months.
We’re here to tell you that Mr. Bragg has apparently never looked in the mirror. Everyone in town knows he’s a poker buddy of former Mayor Ken Kesselus.
We’re considering bringing a very important proposal to be added to the Ethics Ordinance tomorrow night. Don’t you think that Council members who come drunk to meetings should be subject to ethics sanctions? Those of us who have witnessed this for the last few years know exactly what I’m writing about.
The remainder of this is background for you…and a little entertainment.
Soon the city is going to ask an attorney to rewrite the ordinance. We already asked that the city not spend money cutting up a perfectly good ordinance and only pay for review and “tweaks”.
The good news is this. Citizens still have the option to do a petition drive to put a citizen’s ethics ordinance before the voters. We here at Independent Texans will help make this happen, if necessary.
Unfortunately, we got an uncomfortable feeling about this at the Ethics Workshop held on June 13th when Councilmember Deborah Jones called the ethics complaint against her (the first in the city’s history) “a fiasco”. Excuse us, but when a member of the Council shares with the opposing side of litigation that the city is engaged in, information learned in an Executive Session, this is clear grounds for an ethics complaint. Moreover, the Ethics Commission ruled it a draw – nothing close to a “fiasco”. That the complainant was not present made Jones’ rant, in my mind at least, just one more ethical breach.
Then came Councilmember Gary Schiff who repeatedly complained about not being allowed to share information from Executive Session with others. Why would the City Council hold an Executive Session if not to protect the city when it is facing litigation? Folks, this is a no-brainer for anyone who observes any city hall in Texas. And, please do not forget that last September Schiff tried to access over $100,000 in Bastrop Economic Development Corporation funds, that was in our view a MAJOR ethics violation. He pulled it back due to citizen outcry.
You gotta hand it to the GOBN — at least they’re entertaining.
Nip it in the bud, Bastrop! Share this message and we’ll be back with a report soon.
Submitted by Linda Curtis