Laguna Vista ethics ordinance changes approved

Special to the PRESS


New appointees to the Laguna Vista Board of Ethics will be required to sign written statements agreeing to be available to attend called meetings within a specific time period, following action approved Tuesday by the Town Council.

Specifically, the board repealed and replaced Ethics Ordinance No. 2012-19 on its second reading. The section modified, Article V, Section 20 (c), now mandates that new members agree to be available within a 14-day period to meet to hear complaints filed against appointed or elected officials of the Town.

The Home Rule Charter required the Town Council to establish the Ethics Ordinance to provide a standard of conduct for Town officials, “whether elected or appointed, paid or unpaid, advisory or administrative, to serve not only as a guide for official conduct, but also as a basis for discipline for those who refuse to abide by its terms.”

Five members have been appointed “to serve as an independent board of ethics to investigate and issue advisory opinions regarding any possible violation of conflict of interest and any financial disclosure policies.” No meetings of the Ethics Board have convened since the ordinance was enacted in 2012. Members include William Birdwell, Bob Matoush, Rafael Salazar, Renea Swink and Ken Helmke.

The ordinance revisions “grandfather” in sitting board members, but will apply to future appointees.

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