Ethics bill postponed for two weeks

After a contentious discussion this morning, the Council decided this afternoon to postpone their final vote on the ordinance updating the ethics code as it applies to them.

The surprise move was made at the beginning of the Full Council meeting as a change to the agenda, effectively preventing the bill from being considered at all this afternoon. Council member Gonzalez, vice-chair of the Education, Equity and Governance Committee which shepherded the bill through (committee chair Harrell was absent today), requested that the agenda item be postponed for two weeks so that  the issues that Burgess raised this morning could be addressed.

As I wrote this morning, Burgess penned a memo to his colleagues (dated this morning) that summarized his concerns — similar to the ones I outlined last week. He didn’t have any vocal supporters this morning, though O’Brien and Juarez both disagreed with him, Gonzalez seemed sympathetic to both sides of the issue, and Herbold was clearly ruminating over the ramifications of a change that eliminated all cases of mandatory recusal of a Council member. I can only imagine that there were some interesting hallway conversations on the second floor of City Hall in the middle of the day, as the vote to postpone the bill passed quickly by an 8-0 vote.

We’ll have to wait and see what amendments are proposed on June 20th when the Council takes it up for consideration again.