Our Western Heritage

Our Western Heritage
Front Street, Dodge City, circa 1879

Monday, November 24, 2008

Serious problem, Dodge City Conflict of Interest ordinances

Finally, thanks to Ken Strobel, City of Dodge City Manager and Brad Ralph, City of Dodge City Attorney, the serious issue of non-applicable conflict of interest ordinances on the Dodge City code has a possible answer -- if the Dodge City Commission decides to fix it -- and fixes it before millions and millions of tax dollars are spent on the Events Center and the infrastructure connected with it and the Casino.

According to a reply on my request for a ruling on whether the City of Dodge City conflict of interest ordinances -- see previous post -- apply to ANY city appointed volunteer committees:

City of Dodge City Code, Article 4, Chapter 1, Article 1-404(e):
(e) Conflict of Interest - No elected or appointive city official or employee, whether paid or unpaid, shall engage in any business or transaction or shall have a financial or other personal interest, direct or indirect, which is incompatible with the proper discharge of his or her duties in the public interest or would tend to impair his or her independence of judgment or action in the performance of his or her official duties. Personal as distinguished from financial interest includes an interest arising from blood or marriage relationships or close business or political association. Specific conflicts of interest are enumerated below for the guidance of officials and employees:

Mr. Ralph states:

...There exists no definition within the city code of the term, "city official". However, the fact that this provision contemplates the city official potentially being "appointive" and "unpaid" would lead one to believe that members of city boards are, in fact, included within these provisions....

...it would seem reasonable to contemplate that members of city boards and committees would, in fact, be subject to the conflict of interest provisions found within Article 4 of the city code. However, as I have previously indicated, the code provisions are sometimes vaguely worded and may not be as clear as one would wish.

Now, time to see if Mr. Strobel and Mr. Ralph suggest a definition of "appointed city officials" and if the Dodge City Commissioners decide that ethics and codes that are applicable to city committee members -- all committees -- are wanted by them or not. If the city commissioners do nothing -- ie.,they now know that there are no conflict of interest codes which clearly apply to appointed committees, including CFAB -- then I guess that conflict of interest issues are not important to them -- I would hate to think that they may want there to be no applicable laws.

I don't want to be that negative -- so I look forward to a very fast update of the codes so that they clearly apply. If this issue matters to you, contact the City Commissioners and ask when they may fix this very glaring problem with Dodge City laws.

They can be reached at:

Monte Broeckelman
Email: mbroeckelman@yahoo.com

Jim Sherer
Email: jim.sherer@yahoo.com

E. Kent Smoll, Mayor
Email: ksmoll70@hotmail.com

Rick Sowers, Vice-Mayor
Email: rsowers@starrtech.net

Brian Weber
Email: commissionerweber@gmail.com

Yours, Uncle George

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