Saturday, June 22, 2013

Councilman Sal DiCiccio: Ban Gifts to Politicians

Ban Gifts to Politicians
“Transparency is great, but the public demands bans,” Councilman Sal DiCiccio said. “They don’t want to see politicians getting gifts." - Arizona Republic, June 12, 2013
Yesterday the council approved an ethics policy including a ban on gifts to politicians.  Many of us, including Councilmembers Jim Waring, Thelda Williams, Michael Nowakowski and Bill Gates felt strongly this was needed.  Councilman Gates made the motion and I made the second for staff to prepare an ordinance that would set a limit on gifts.
The current policy allows politicians to not report any gift below $500. The motion approved would override that policy and put a ban on gifts. 
No more free trips around the world.  No more payments to give speeches. 
The ethics policy we passed was great, but now it is time to set our sights on something bigger.  If you want to find real abuse, it is with taxpayer paid trips.  This is the next area that really needs transparency and needs accountability. 
Currently politicians bring their staffs on taxpayer paid trips with absolutely no accountability.  Elected officials go on these lavish trips paid by taxpayers and they bring their staff.  They don't provide a single document as to who they met with, what they accomplished and how their time was spent.  If you want to find abuse-this is the area and this is the area I am going to insist we tackle.
On an 8-1 vote the council also approved a recall on Councilmember's who violate the ethics policy.  Many thanks to Councilman Danny Valenzuela for leading the debate saying the public should be given the right to oust the offending elected official.  This position was affirmed by myself, Jim Waring, Bill Gates, Thelda Williams, Michael Nowakowski, Michael Johnson and Tom Simplot. Mayor Greg Stanton was the only no vote.
My best to you and your family,

Sal DiCiccio
City of Phoenix
Councilman, District 6

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