Home Moral guidelines The ethics committee rules on the competence of the SPGEs but rejects the complaint

The ethics committee rules on the competence of the SPGEs but rejects the complaint

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19 October – Following an executive session to speak with their solicitor, the City of London Ethics Committee acknowledged having jurisdiction over SPGEs such as London City Tourism and London Utility Commission – but later dismissed the complaint about alleged violations of nepotism among city employees.

Board Member Derek House announced that through video conferencing with Ethics Committee Counsel Mary Ann Stuart, the Ethics Committee has jurisdiction in the SPGEs.

Board member Donna Gail House later said she wanted to change her vote from the September meeting where she agreed to dismiss the complaint because the ethics committee had no jurisdiction over the complaint. House has sought further advice from the Department of Local Government regarding this issue, as well as other matters arising from this meeting, and has raised its concerns with London City Council. The municipal council has created the ethics committee and is therefore the body within which these questions must be dealt with.

House asked that his “yes” vote to dismiss the complaint based on the ethics committee’s incompetence be recalled and amended in the minutes of the September meeting. Council members approved this measure.

Board members also voted to reconsider the decision from the last meeting. Dyche said council counsel provided a draft of the issues addressed in the complaint.

“The basis for this decision is that the board has jurisdiction over the statutory issue (KRS 61.080) regarding incompatible offices and that the complaint, on its face, did not present a sufficient factual basis to establish a violation of the ordinance on the ethics of the City of London,” said Dyche.

The preliminary investigation held at the September meeting focused on a complaint that a member of the city’s tourism board violated state statutes by serving on two SPGE boards. This member has since resigned from the tourist board.

Other issues addressed in the complaint were that members of the city’s tourism board voted to hire family members – which violates the city’s nepotism ordinance.

Another problem concerns the confidentiality of the person who lodges a complaint before the ethics committee. The order requires that the complaint be signed. Dyche said copies of the complaint were sent to the parties named in the complaint. Dyche said if the plaintiff discloses the details of the complaint before the preliminary hearing, the board can acknowledge the existence of the complaint. Otherwise, confidentiality is essential.

Derek House added that confidentiality is essential to maintain the work of the ethics committee, as well as to avoid litigation on the matter.

Another complaint received electronically sparked another closed meeting as council members decided the complaint did not meet the criteria for an investigation.

City Attorney Larry Bryson addressed the council, saying the city clerk had received an open records request from William “Bill” Mosley asking for “notes” of ethics committee meetings. Bryson recommended that the request be denied because ethics committee meetings are not public until the minutes of the meetings have been approved.

It came after Dyche adjourned the meeting, but the board voted to reconvene to hear Bryson’s comments. Bryson then addressed certain emails sent to city employees that could be considered “public.”

“It depends on how these (emails) are sent whether or not they are public records,” Bryson added.

On this note, the meeting was adjourned and the date of the next meeting was set for the second Wednesday of November.