Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Seattle Councilman Mclver paid Ethics fine with Taxpayer money

It's a conundrum of sorts: Seattle Councilman Mclver, who was recently fined $1,000 by the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission for an ethics violation, used city taxpayer dollars to pay his fine.

A Seattle City Attorney advised Mclver that he could use public funds to pay the fine after locating an ordinance that indemnifies employees who receive fines for misconduct.

Wayne Barnett, Executive Director for the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, told Mclver that he believes that Mclver's use of public funds to pay the fine defeats the purpose of the fine and renders the Commission's ruling meaningless. He returned the check to Mclver in the mail.

Barnett told media that the Commission's ruling stated Mclver should pay the fine from his own personal funds. He intends to ask the King County Superior Court to enforce the order and make Mclver use personal funds to pay the $1,000 fine.

The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission found that Mclver violated the city's ethics code when he awarded a no-bid contract to a company after vacationing in the Virgin Islands in a condominium owned by one of the owners of the company that received the contract.

One violation was for signing the $37,000 contract and the other violation was for expanding the contract to $42,000.

Barnett could not tell interviewers how many other employees may have used public funds to pay fines over the years.

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