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Bowling Green City Commission votes to amend Code of Ethics

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 10:29 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - On Tuesday, the Bowling Green City Commission met along with the city’s Board of Ethics. Members of the Board Ethics proposed an ordinance that would amend part 25-14 (section 4) of the Bowling Green Code of Ethics.

The section discusses the penalties instated if a city employee breaks the code of ethics. At the meeting, members of the Board of Ethics proposed an amendment that could require the employee or public official that breaks the code to pay for some or all of his or her legal fees if thoroughly investigated.

This comes about one year after City Commissioner Brian “Slim” Nash was investigated by the ethics committee after being arrested for public intoxication.

“The goal here for the board of ethics was to provide some accountability,” Barry Pruitt said. Pruitt is the chairperson for the Board of Ethics.

Pruitt went on to say he hopes that an ordinance like this would be a deterrent against public officials and employees violating the Code of Ethics.

City Commissioner Dana Beasley-Brown brought up a concern that anyone can anonymously submit an ethics complaint about a city employee which has the potential to lead to a costly investigation. The ordinance on the table would make for the person involved in the investigation to pay for those legal fees.

“I would hate to see this ethics board be weaponized and become a political issue,” Beasley-Brown said.

After more discussion, the ethics board mentioned legal fees would only be assessed if a person was found to have violated the ethics code.

Ultimately, City Commissioner Joe Denning made a motion to remove the language regarding attorney fees, and for the City Commission to work with the Board of Ethics on a new proposal. This motion passed three to two, as Beasley-Brown and Brian “Slim” Nash both voted yes. Mayor Bruce Wilkerson and City Commissioner Sue Parrigin both voted no.

A second reading and final vote of the proposed ordinance will take place on October 2nd.

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