Earlier this week, the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC) held its monthly meeting (video). Top of the agenda: taking up once again the proposed change to the city’s conflict of interest rule for elected officials in light of the change to district-based Council positions.
I reported last night that the City Council was contemplating changing the city’s ethics code to exempt itself from recusal for financial conflicts of interest. At this morning’s committee meeting, four Council members discussed it, and while they didn’t abandon the idea, they decided to think it over more carefully before moving forward.
In June 2016 the City Council considered an update to the city’s conflict of interest rules that would allow Council members to continue to participate in a legislative act in which she or he has a conflict of interest if that conflict is publicly disclosed first. After a contentious debate, it was referred back to committee, where it has languished for almost two years. This week it will be revived and get another hearing in committee.
Wednesday afternoon the Council’s Education, Education and Governance Committee considered a change to their rules around financial disclosures and recusals, because while the need for them hasn’t changed, the context in which they are happening has.