Unlike the state ethics law, which the Legislature passed March 28, the changes do not involve lobbyists or campaign contributions.
Instead, the alterations affect the process followed by complainants, subjects, witnesses, ethics board members, hearing officers, the city clerk and the city council.
For example, the hearing officer, who runs the proceedings, must live, not just work, outside city limits.
Left unchanged is the hearing officer’s job of questioning witnesses, which the city council considered extending to ethics board members.
“We want to make the process shorter, not longer,” said City Councilman Doug Thompson, an attorney. “I don’t want them playing lawyer.”
The ordinance’s second reading during an April 1 special called meeting was in stark contrast to its first reading March 11, when city Councilwoman Adrian Bonser said her fellow council members and Mayor Mike Davis were “breaking the law” by not forming a committee first.
“The committee would have saved time,” she said last week during 90 minutes of revisions and debate.
Bonser acknowledged the second reading was more productive than the first.
“This time is so much better. Other cities might want to use this,” she said, holding a draft copy of the amended law.
But resident and community councilmember Tony Delmichi disagreed, saying “the public will not trust any self-regulating rewrite by city council.”
Speaking before the second reading, Delmichi said only a hands-off approach will work.
“Recruit someone more independent and neutral to rewrite the code,” he said.
In other actions, City Manager Warren Hutmacher delivered a progress report on Project Renaissance, a 35-acre park and residence project on North Shallowford Road, at one of the city’s gateways.
The 19-acre park’s ceremonial ground-breaking will be April 17 at 10 a.m., although its actual construction will have already begun.
“Early next week, unofficially, they’ll be moving dirt,” Hutmacher said about Georgia Development Partners.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Project Renaissance ground breaking ceremony is April 17 at 10 a.m., at N. Shallowford and Dunwoody Park roads.