Mayor Assembles Council Brain Trust, Or Something, to Review Ethics Rollback

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While I was on the phone with Chris Heinbaugh about the item just below this one, he mentioned that Mayor-Not-For-Long Dwaine Caraway informed his council colleagues today that he's ready to go with that whole ad hoc ethics committee mentioned at the end of last week's rather tense back-and-forth over what Schutze calls the city's unethics reform. Only, see, since Caraway's almost out of the center square, he's not prepared to dig deep into the city's ethical bidness.

Instead, he wants to go no further than the April 13 rollback of the ethics ordinance allowing political contributions from representatives and employees of companies that have business in front of the council. (Caraway has opted to let the next mayor dig deeper, if he so chooses.) No date's been set yet, but Heinbaugh says chair Ann Margolin's looking to limit its look-see to a whole two hours, more than likely from 4 to 6 p.m. on May 19. We'll see. (Update at 5:10 p.m.: As soon as I posted this, Heinbaugh forwarded Margolin's response; she's set two meetings, the first on May 19, if necessary. Her memo follows.) Till then, here's the mayor-not-much-longer's memo, posted verbatim:

I have asked Councilmember Ann Margolin to convene and chair an ad hoc Council committee to review the changes to the City's Ethics Code that the Council approved on April 13, 2011. That panel will include Councilmembers Pauline Medrano, Jerry Allen, Carolyn Davis and Tennell Atkins. All Councilmembers are welcome to attend.

The review should be focused strictly on those items approved April 13th to determine if they should be retained, amended or eliminated. I am asking you to return your recommendations in time for the City Attorney to brief the full Council on June 1, with a vote to be scheduled on June 8.

I have also invited Ethics Advisory Commission Chairman Randy Skinner, Vice Chair Mickie Bragalone and member Roger Wedell to join in discussions about these specific recommendations if their schedules allow. They will be serving in an advisory capacity only and not have a vote.

Margolin's memo follows.

TO Councilmembers: Pauline Medrano, Jerry Allen, Carolyn Davis, Tennell Atkins
Advisors: Randy Skinner, Mickie Bragalone, Roger Wedell
FROM Ann Margolin, Chair
SUBJECT Ad Hoc Ethics Review Committee- Meeting Dates

Thank you for agreeing to serve on the Ad Hoc Ethics Review Committee. The Mayor has charged this committee with reviewing and making recommendations on the amendments that were made to the ethics ordinance by the Council on April 13, 2011. We have been asked to complete our work with recommendations in time for a briefing to the Council by the City Attorney on June 1, 2011. It will be on the Council agenda on June 8, 2011.

I am scheduling two meetings of two hours each in which to conduct our business. The first meeting will be Thursday, May 19 from 3 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. If a second meeting is required, it will be held on May 26 from 3 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Both meetings will take place in the Council Briefing Room at 6ES. Please plan to attend on both days unless we determine otherwise at the first meeting.

The public will be invited to address the committee at the start of the meeting on May 19th.

Attached is a copy of the council briefing on this matter from May 4, 2011. This will provide a basis for discussion.

Thank you for your participation.

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