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Councilman Brent Ackerson offers an alternative family member definition to resolve Ethics Ordinance debate

Thursday February 11, 2010

For Immediate Release:
Majority Caucus
Louiville Metro Council
Contact: Tony Hyatt 574-4137/526-3622

As the Metro Council’s Government Accountability and Oversight Committee continues its work on a revising the city’s current ethics code, Councilman Brent Ackerson is offering a proposed amendment to resolve a major hurdle for passage. He is proposing an amendment to cover committed relationships involving a Metro Officer.

“If we are going to move forward with making sure family members and those who live with a Metro Officer are covered, then this Amendment will go a long way in covering all possibilities when it comes to family,” says Ackerson.

The amendment not only covers what would be called a traditional family but it also defines “committed relationships” which cover heterosexual, homosexual, and platonic relationships.

“We must understand that the definition of family and relationship has changed in this country,” says Ackerson.

Recently, a special Ethics Work Group concluded its review of two separate ordinances that would revise the Metro Government’s Code of Ethics. One was proposed by Council members Marianne Butler (D-15) and Jon Ackerson (R-18). The other ordinance is proposed by Councilman Ken Fleming (R-7). The work group was able to agree and compromise on all areas of both ordinances except in two areas; the definitions of a family member and Metro Officer.

On Wednesday, the Work Group reported it was finalizing the ordinances by substitution for Ethics.

Ackerson says if the Metro Council is to do a comprehensive review of the ethics law then it cannot solely rely on one definition of family to mean spouse and children as well as persons who are related to the public servant by blood or adoption.

“If we rely just on this definition, then we are missing a wide area of persons who may have influence on the public servant or Metro Officer,” says Ackerson. “I believe this amendment would correct that situation.”

Joining Ackerson as sponsors of the amendment are; Judith Green (D-1), Barbara Shanklin (D-2), Tom Owen (D-8), Tina Ward-Pugh (D-9) and Dan Johnson (D-21)

Both the Majority and Minority Caucuses plan to review the Ackerson amendment. The Councilman is confident that it will address the concerns of those who want a comprehensive definition of family in the proposed ethics changes.

The Government Accountability Committee will meet on Wednesday, February 24th to continue its review of the ethics ordinance.

Sponsor:
Brent T. Ackerson (D) 26