Monday, May 19, 2008

Mayor Advises Council to Head for City Ethics Board

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl commented last week that the 4 council members who walked out of a vote last week because of a potential conflict of interest should voluntarily take their case to the city's Ethics Board. William Peduto, Ricky Burgess, Doug Shields, and Bruce Kraus excused themselves from voting on whether the city should pay for a $10, 706 legal bill incurred when they sought another legal opinion regarding the Lamar Advertising downtown billboard conflict. An opinion from the city solicitor's office says the bill was a personally incurred expense, and discussing it in council, let alone voting on it, would create a conflict of interest.
The mayor offered advice from his own experience. Last summer, he went before the board after accepting a $9,000 ticket for a charity golf outing, courtesy of the Penguins and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He says he doesn't think the council members knowingly did any wrong, and they would have a chance to state their case, like he did. He's glad that Councilman Burgess invited the state ethics board to get involved, and says it's their perogative how to proceed.

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