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Dallas Council To Attend Ethics Class

Dallas, TX – A "makeover" for the Dallas City Hall "ethics" policy is in the works. KERA's BJ Austin says City Council members got a few ideas at an SMU ethics forum Wednesday.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has made changing the "culture" of ethics at City Hall a priority.

Rawlings: You know one of the most important things that we can do for the city of Dallas is send a signal that we care about ethics. It's the foundation of everything we do: how we treat each other, how we treat suppliers, how we treat citizens.

The Mayor is not quite ready to embrace a couple of suggestions from a panel of ethics experts: such as, requiring that vendors sign-on to the city's ethics policy; or that the calendars of all council members and city managers be public. That way, taxpayers will know what lobbyists and vendors are having direct conversations with elected officials and city management. Mayor Rawlings says he'll wait for a "best practices" report from the council's audit committee. Jerry Allen heads that committee.

Allen: We will establish a culture. It will take time to do that, but ti will be a foundation that will be laid, as strong a foundation as you'll find anywhere.

Former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill is in federal prison, convicted in a pay to play scandal involving city contracts. And a top political advisor for the former Mayor is a figure in a current FBI corruption investigation.

Council member Scott Griggs:

Griggs: No question that issues like certainly do damage everyone who's in political office and generally give politicians and government a bad name.

Griggs says he hopes within four to six months the council will consider important refinements to the ethics rules at City Hall.


Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.