San Antonio City Council approves ethics code reform

City to hire compliance auditor to keep an eye on high-profile contracts

SAN ANTONIO - The San Antonio City Council unanimously approved changes to its ethics code, including a new compliance auditor who will identify conflicts related to high-profile contracts.

City councilmembers' companies will also be prohibited from seeking contracts with entities whose boards are appointed by City Council.

"The effect will be to keep folks on their toes, so that you have folks always going the extra mile to make sure that they're within those lines," Mayor Julian Castro said.

Castro said the city has moved forward by "lightyears" since 2002, when two City Councilmembers were arrested for taking cash in exchange for their vote.

"It has been amazing to see how far the city of San Antonio, the entire entity, has come since that time (and) has been able to regain the confidence of the public, justifiably," he said.

But there are things that have fallen through the cracks.

Last month, City Council had to reverse the decision to purchase land a new library for $4.2 million because Council Woman Elisa Chan initially failed to mention that her company owned adjacent land.

Councilman Diego Bernal said the changes help fortify public trust in city government.

"They may not always like the decisions that we make or every decision that we make. We at least need to inspire confidence in the way that we got there," he said.

For a list of recent stories Jenna Hiller has done, click here.


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