By: Sharon Aron Baron
Something smells funny and it’s not the garbage.
Since 2011, Mayors and City Commissioners have a had a new code of ethics that regulate what they can and cannot do. The code forbids taking anything, including a meal, from lobbyists, contractors or vendors or taking gifts greater than $50 in value from anyone at all.
The one thing that elected officials can take is money for their campaigns – from anyone.
For instance, both commissioners Tom Powers and Dan Daley are up for reelection in 2014; Powers is running for Mayor and Daley is running again for his commission seat.
In June, the commission voted on a 15-year deal with Waste Pro for garbage service, and before the contract was even set to commence on January 1, 2014, Waste Pro donated both Powers and Daley $500 each towards their reelection campaign.
Another example is on September 23, Powers received a $500 donation from the Metro-Broward Professional Firefighters Local 3080. Now their collective bargaining agreement is on the agenda for Wednesday night’s meeting. I’m sure that Powers will recuse himself from the vote, but knowing this would have come up, the contribution shouldn’t have been accepted in the first place.
While these may not have been a breech in the code of ethics, this gives off an implied conflict of interest, and the city should enact rules preventing commission members who are candidates from accepting contributions from contracted companies during their campaign cycle.