MSD Considers Adopting More Stringent Ethics Policy

by Erica Peterson on September 12, 2011

The Metropolitan Sewer District is considering strengthening it’s ethics policy.

The agency already has an ethics policy, but amid allegations of impropriety and an investigation by the state auditor, Metro council members have called for it to adopt a policy similar to the Metro Government Ethics Code.

Attorney Larry Zielke prepared a draft for the MSD policy committee last month. In the meeting today (Monday) he told the board the policy, as written, was very similar to the Metro Ethics Code.

“All that’s the same,” he said. “The main difference here, again, when you get to it, is do you want to open this up to apply to more people than just the board. It seems to me that’s the overriding feature you’re going to have to consider right now.”

The board did want to open it up to apply to more than board members. They asked Zielke to prepare another draft, which also subjects MSD’s Executive Director and four senior employees to the new ethics policy.

Board members also considered the policy’s enforcement. The draft gave that power to the board, but members felt that should be left up to a third party. It was suggested to subject the MSD to oversight by the Ethics Commission, but leave the final decision of whether to accept or reject the commission’s ruling up to the mayor.

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