Ethics Workshop Brought Public Discussion and Suggestions

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By Beth Fussell

Wednesday evening, about 40 Central citizens gathered at the fire station for an open workshop on ethics.  The meeting, led by Councilman Moak, focused on ethics for Central's elected officials.  The meeting addressed several concerns, many of which are covered by the Louisiana State Constitution, Public Bid Laws, Public Reocrds Laws, or the Louisiana Code of Ethics.  Therefore, it was agreed that Central's statement concerning ethics should be that we support all of the items contained in those laws and codes, as well as the extra items that our citizens bring to the table.  The goal is to go beyond what is alreeady required by law, as we cannot legally ignore or reject any of the rules or laws contained in those documents.  Many Central citizens agreed that they would like to be held to a higher standard in order to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

Topics discussed at the meeting included the following:

Campaign contributions from city contractors and employees

Campaigning using city or other public resources

Elected officials endorsing specific candidates for office

Obligation of board members or elected officials to recuse themselves from votes concerning items that would benefit them personally or professionally

The ability of city officials to bid on city contracts

Public records laws

These items were discussed overall in a polite, non-accusatory manner that was appreciated by those in attendance.  There will be some time now to research and consider these items before having another workshop to discuss them in more detail.