Mayoral ethics

Mon, May 18, 2009


Absent supporting data, the city “Ethics Commission” acted correctly in refusing to consider, at least for the time being, the complaint filed against Mayor Lionel Rivera.  The complaint alleged that the Mayor had, and may still have, an undisclosed business relationship with LandCo CEO Ray Marshall.  The complaint further alleges that Rivera profited thereby, creating a conflict of interest.

The complainant, investment advisor Ron Johnson, said that he would produce documentary evidence of this conflictual relationship in the near future.

That’s fine – but two points come to mind.

First, the commission is barred from considering ethical lapses that occurred more than a year from the filing of a complaint.  Granted, there needs to be some sort of “statute of limitations” on such complaints-but one year?  That seems unduly short.

Secondly, the commission, like Caesar’s wife, ought to be above suspicion.  Of the three memebers, one is a lawyer with the city attorney’s office, and another is a longtime political insider who supported the Mayor in his re-election bid two years ago.  I know them both-and believe them to be extraordinarily honorable and capable individuals, who would be unswayed in their judgment by personal, political, or job-related concerns.  But appearance is everything.

And third, this entire, elaborate charade, this home-grown Kabuki theater that so entrances the political junkies among us, could be ended ina minute – if the Mayor spoke up. 

But, for reasons best known to himself, he hasn’t.  And the show goes on.

<- Back to

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Bernie Herpin Says:

    John, the 12 month statute of limitations comes from Amendment 41 codified in the Colorado Constitution as Article XXIX which also allows home rule cities to adopt its own ethics rules as long as they meet the standards set by XXIX. I suppose we could have adopt a stricter standard of 24 months, but since it applies not only to all elected officials and employees but to members (volunteers) of council appointed boards and commissions, I suspect many people would hesitate to serve, not because they would intentionally commit an ethics violation, but because anyone (maybe with an axe to grind) can file a complaint. Our ethics commission rules also state that “frivolous” complaints will be kept confidential. In this case, the complaint itself was published even before the commission met to determine the merits. Therefore, even if the allegations are found to be unfounded, some damage has already been done to the reputation of the mayor (or other person).

  2. John Whitten Says:

    Horse hockey! If anyone serves in the ‘public domain’, then it’s public. One serves for the benefit of the loons, nutballs, and other assorted crazies, and not just the regular people (known collectively as ‘voters’).

    The theory that everything should stand the light of day (actions, opinions, blogs…) is a good standard.

    John WHitten