One of the items on the agenda for Monday's seedy council meeting is a vote on the proposed code of ethics. From about 2006 to 2009, an ad-hoc ethics committee worked many hours to put together this code. In 2009, they turned in their work to the city council only to have them sit on it until recently. During the last couple of months VIDA convinced the current council to put the matter back on the agenda and reactivate the ad hoc committee into action.
A few weeks later, the committee has finished its work. On orders from the mayor, seedy council, and the city manager's office, they made some modifications that, for the most part, are more liberal in what city officials can legally do.
One of the things that was so important to council and staff was their annual all-expenses paid trips to Washington DC and Austin, Texas. Therefore, they made sure the new code allows for such donations. Last year, the city leaders managed to get over $100,000 from private interests to finance their whirlwind tours. This was their way of getting away from the scrutiny of the taxpayers. They figured if they could get their buddies to put up the dough, they could have increasingly lavish trips for increasingly larger groups. Incredibly, last year's trip to DC was enjoyed by a whoppping 42 travelers. Now that's an entourage.
Ethics-Smethics is the apparent response of the mayor, seedy council and staff. First class travel all the way.