District 12 Metro Councilman Steve Glover plans to introduce legislation next week so that ethics guidelines like those written in Mayor Barry’s Executive Order 005, apply to elected officials:
Given this new revelation, I will be introducing legislation next week to make sure that the rules and ethics will apply to elected officials and that we do not get a separate set of standards.
Glover’s proposed legislation is in response to the review by former Metro lawyers Saul Solomon, Kevin C. Klein and Allison Bussell whose firm Klein Bussell was retained by the Metro Legal Department to evaluate an ethics complaint filed against the Mayor one week after she admitted to her extramarital affair.
Klein Bussell’s review of the ethics complaint concluded in part, that the Metro Board of Ethical Conduct, “lacks jurisdiction to examine alleged violations of Metropolitan Government executive orders.”
The Star asked Councilman Glover what purpose is served by Executive Order 005 if no one can be held accountable to its contents; his response was prompt and candid:
In light of what has been revealed by this independent legal finding, it saddens me even greater than in days past. If Mayor Barry’s Executive Order has no reach, then it’s a sham and should never have been issued. This is like telling your kids that if they walk in front of a moving car they can’t get hurt. This further destroys the faith that the public should or could have in the local government in this city. Here is a simple rule that perhaps we can all follow: What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong.
Mayor Barry signed Executive Order 005 Financial and other disclosures by certain Metropolitan Government employees and officials; ethics, conflict of interest, and acceptance of gifts on the part of employees of Metropolitan Government on February 24, 2016, is broader in scope than the Metro Code governing the conduct of Metro employees and states that adhering to it’s standards are, “essential to the proper performance of government business and the maintenance of confidence by citizens in their government.” The Executive Order explicitly states that it applies to the Mayor and the Mayor’s office.
One week after Mayor Barry publicly admitted to concealing a two year adulterous relationship with a subordinate employee, the Metro Council voted to convene it’s own Special Committee to investigate specifically whether there was improper use of public funds in connection with the Mayor’s extramarital affair.
The Special Committee can subpoena witnesses and compel “the production of books, papers, and records pertinent to the investigation or any hearing.” At the conclusion of its investigation the Special Committee is required to issue a report based on its findings and “any recommendations for further action.”
While the Special Committee’s charge is to focus on the expenditure of public funds, it is not clear that the Committee is barred from including recommendations supporting the type of legislation Councilman Glover plans to introduce.
Copyright 2018 The Tennessee Star