Ethics Commission To Be Implemented
The citizens voted for an ethics commission to govern the city of Laredo to hold officials accountable and transparent.
But this vote happened six years ago, and the group, Voices in Democratic Action, refuse to wait much longer.
For the past three council meeting, members of Voices of Democratic Action have voiced their concern for a lack of an ethics commission.
(Hector Farias, Jr. \Voices of Democratic Action): "The ethics commission was suppose to keep the fox out of the chicken coup, we being the chicken, the tax payers."
Voices of Democratic Action have threatened a lawsuit if an ethics commission is not in place within the next 90 days.
(George Altgelt): “I think a lot of us in the public realize things have come to a head. We are frankly disappointed in the quality of leadership that we have are here."
( Richard Geissler): "You know I'm glad they pick-up my garbage twice a week, there are things the government do well. But sometimes, like the dog pound, that's a disgrace what's happening with that. Citizens need to have an avenue to complain."
An ad hoc committee spent two years coming up with criteria after the voters voted for an ethics commission in 2006, but it is still not in place.
Monday night, city council agreed to work on implementing the commission.
The disagreement between the two parties is the financial part of the ordinance, about disclosing funds.
"It says, look, if you guys are going to expect Spurs tickets and trips to South Padre Island you need to disclose that."
Right now, city council members must disclose any gift given over $250, but the ad hoc committee wants to lower that to $50.
City manager Carlos Villarreal says he is for an ethics committee but wants council members to thoroughly understand what they are voting for.
(Carlos Villarreal):"...About going too deep into financial disclosure, family members, putting that out for the public that might have other consequences, we want to make sure everyone understands and what we need to do."
Monday night, city council members decided to hold a meeting on Friday, to make sure all council members are represented in the ad hoc committee.
City council member Charlie San Miguel said the council will adopt the commission, but both council members and the ad hoc committee will work together to approve a final version.
City officials estimate this will take roughly 30 days.