Wentzville Board of Aldermen Considers Ethics Policy
The city's draft for a code of ethics is based on Creve Coeur's ethics policy.
Wentzville city staff and City Attorney Paul Rost have drafted an ethics policy that was presented to the Board of Aldermen at last night's work session.
Human Resources Director Amy Mixen introduced the policy, which the board had directed staff to prepare. She said that staff had looked at the ethics policies of several other cities, and that the University of Missouri - St. Louis ethics department had specifically recommended that they take a look at Creve Coeur's policy as a model.
Rost said that the first draft was being presented to the board for direction, and that he expected it would take several discussions to cover any changes that the board might request.
The policy covers:
- Responsibilities of public office
- The use of city-owned property
- Conflict of interest
- Disclosure statements
- Gifts and gratuities
- Donations and sponsorships
- Bidding and contracting
- Avoiding undue influence
- Confidential information
- Participating in city contracts
Ward 1 Alderman Forrest Gossett requested stronger language in the section about accepting gifts. He mentioned having four tickets placed on his desk the day he started his term as alderman. "We shouldn't be accepting freebies from anyone. I'm an absolutist on this."
Mayor Guccione said the when he has been given tickets, he doesn't use them himself. "I hand them to someone else who might use them," he said.
Gossett disagreed. "It just gets into a gray area we don’t want to be in . . . we turn down the tickets, period."
Ward 2 Alderman Chris Gard asked for clarification on the solicitation part of the policy. "It’s a slippery slope," he said. He said that business owners might feel pressured to make donations if solicited by elected officials.
Guccione said that, as mayor, he gets many requests to solicit donations for charities or charitable events.
Rost suggested that the board might want to be careful in setting limits on amounts solicited or donated to the city, that it might harm efforts like the public/private partnerships the city is seeking to bring Ranken Tech to the city.