City council talks about strengthening ethics policy - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

City council talks about strengthening ethics policy

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Charlotte City council members are thinking about beefing up its ethics policy.  Members of the Governance and Accountability committee met Monday to figure out what should be done. 

They are responding to the arrest of former Mayor Patrick Cannon back in March on federal corruption charges. Members want to be sure the current ethics policy is strong enough to possibly prevent this from happening again. 

"I'm not exactly sure policies," Councilmember David Howard said. "Would have changed a lot of what happened in the last month or so, but I think we owe it to the community to at least take a step back and look at them."

Council members say by looking at its ethics policy doesn't mean there is widespread corruption in city government

"One of us," Councilmember Pat Kinsey said. "Maybe did something they shouldn't have, but the rest of us should not feel guilty."

The committee members have instructed staff to review its rezoning process, permitting process and the review of the bid process especially when the city partners with other agencies. The city is also interested in establishing an employee hotline to report alleged corruption.

Councilmember LaWana Mayfield wants the new policy to have teeth.  Currently there are no consequences for city leaders if they violate the policy.

"It's left up to the individual," Mayfield said. "To say ok, I am going to now do the right thing after doing the wrong thing and I am going to step away."

Howard says he will talk to all council members to get their opinion before moving forward.  In the meantime city employees will get an email reminding them of the city's Whistleblower policy.

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