Board backs adhering to state’s ethics law

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A local review committee on Thursday endorsed repealing Carson City’s government ethics ordinance and replacing it with a strong commitment to following state ethics law.

“We have gone over everything, and I think the actions we take today will benefit the public,” said Ande Engleman, chairwoman of the city’s Ethics Ordinance Review Committee. “This was not arrived at lightly.”

The committee voted unanimously twice, first to recommend that the Board of Supervisors repeal the local ethics ordinance and a second time to recommend a resolution be passed by the board advocating adherence by elected officials and staff to the state’s law.

Pertinent parts of the draft resolution say the city’s governing board intends that all public officers and employees fully comply with the state’s ethics law, that they should familiarize themselves and even get training in applicable state ethics language, and that the board “supports the express statutory language and the spirit of the Ethics in Government Law adopted by the Nevada Legislature,” as well as amendments to it.

The committee was appointed by city governing board members but, as Engleman pointed out, actually worked on behalf of city residents to determine whether to beef up, alter or make other recommendations in light of state and local law being in conflict or duplicative in places.

The only public testimony Thursday came from Bill Prowse, a city Audit Committee member and retired auditor who sought assurances that city employees along with elected officials would be familiarized with the law and perhaps get training. He got such assurances both from City Manager Larry Werner and committee members, among them Caren Cafferata-Jenkins of the state Commission on Ethics.

“I wholeheartedly support recommending this resolution,” said the executive director of the state commission, who, as a panel member, in earlier meetings went through the ordinance and state law to pin down for colleagues various similarities and differences.

Werner thanked the committee for its work and assured them every effort would be made to have the recommendations go to the governing board at the Dec. 5 meeting.


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