Ethics in the City

City Council on Monday is set to decide whether the mayor’s removal of chair John Guio from the Plan Commission for an ethics violation is proper.

You’ll have to excuse me for not believing the party line here. IMO this was a move based on politics, not ethics. Consider:

— Another Plan Commission member, Vince Frye, was allowed to poison the well on the vote for the hog slaughtering operation just a few weeks ago. No penalty.

— Alderman Ron Naylor, a retired city employee, has made some errors in discussing post-employment healthcare benefits in violation of the ordinance that sets rules for proper meeting behavior. No penalty.

— Alderman Bert Simpson blasted me for criticizing Community Enhancement commissioner Paul Rasmussen for publicly supporting the utilities burial plan without identifying himself as a former city staff member who had helped come up with the plan. Rasmussen is now a “private citizen,” the argument went, and basic ethics rules do not apply to him anymore.

Wogengate. City staff involved in under-the-radar contracts to a sitting alderman are still there. The ordinance dealing with aldermen and future contracts does not even meet state standards.

If the administration really wants to pull out an ethics yardstick at this moment, great! — but use it to measure everyone, not just political adversaries.

Link: ICMA Code of Ethics (H/T S.B.)

7 thoughts on “Ethics in the City”

  1. You know what else could be considered an ethical violation? Using Build America bonds for building private executive bathrooms (PDF pp. 78-9) .

    BABs should be used for infrastructure projects that not only create construction jobs in the short term but also have a secondary, long-term positive effect on employment.

    BTW, last weekend I attended the jobs coalition meeting downtown. Rep. Foster spent about 45 minutes with us and during the course of the conversation, he revealed that this potential secondary, or as he calls it “multiplier” effect, is the standard he uses in deciding whether to vote for jobs/stimulus/infrastructure legislation.

    (That helps explain his support of the airport, even if the multiplier isn’t working that well in DeKalb.)

    Foster also expressed approval of the idea of an “infrastructure bank” for oversight in preventing new infrastructure dollars going to local pet projects, as happens now.

  2. His multiplier effect can be manipulated. The tell tale sign is FTE. CDBG-R money (the -R is designated for Recovery, as in jobs) was used, about $100K, to purchase floodplain property. To show that the money was used to justify the -R a figure of 1.something FTE was used on the fulfillment report.

    Sue Guio told us this at a Finance Advisory/City Council meeting.

    If they want recover based on jobs then they cannot allow FTE manipulation like that shown above. The $100k must be invested in real jobs of the newly created kind.

  3. Couldn’t have said it better Lynn. I also feel the mayor is really sidestepping the library and it’s OMA violation. They are basically under the watch of mayor and council with Dee Coover mayor appointed. I also say the whole downtown deal Renew DeKalb is one big major ethics violation.
    I really do wonder what is motivating the mayor here.
    Oh one more ethics question concerning the mayor himself…… also liquor comissioner…… oh yes candidate at the time and that would involve election endorsements and outdoor sitting areas downtown.

  4. Thanks Yinn, have bee quiet too long. I have always had much respect for Mr. Guio who by the way serves voluntarily on the Planning Comission. When our mayor, who himself should be questioned concerning his ethics, questions the ethics of John Guio then it’s time to start typing again.

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