Phoenix City Council to again debate employee ethics policy

Feb 9, 2016, 12:58 PM

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council will revisit an ethics policy for city employees and elected officials in its Wednesday meeting, three years after it was first proposed.

The policy would spell out what kind of gifts can be accepted by officials and employees, what constitutes a conflict of interest and how the policy should be enforced.

The latest draft of the policy requires the reporting of gifts received that are worth more than $50. Any gift that creates a conflict of interest or even the appearance of a conflict would be banned.

Under the draft ordinance, the Public Safety and Veterans Subcommittee would review ethics complaints against elected city officials or members of public boards. The subcommittee would then make recommendations to the city council about fines or punishment for violators.

Any recommendation would have to be approved by seven councilmembers — out of nine — before punishment could take place.

The push for a stronger ethics ordinance emerged in 2013, after a city-appointed task force concluded that the existing policies needed to be strengthened. The policies were last updated in 2006.

Since that time, the council and a subcommittee charged with drafting a new ethics ordinance have gone back and forth. A proposed ordinance was drafted in 2014, but the council sent it back for more work.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, who has been a strong supporter of the ordinance, said he would wait to comment until after the council meeting.

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Phoenix City Council to again debate employee ethics policy