Deputy City Manager Pat DiGiovanni was found in violation Tuesday night of part of the city’s ethics code. But only to a certain extent.
After much media attention, DiGiovanni requested that the city’s Ethics Review Board conduct a hearing on the scenario in question.
DiGiovanni has been a San Antonio city employee for nearly 7 years, but will soon become the CEO of Centro Partnership, a nonprofit geared toward downtown development.
David Zachry, president of Zachry Corporation, sits on the board of Centro. Zachry Corp. is a partner in Hunt-Zachry, the company awarded a contract to expand the San Antonio Convention Center.
As Deputy City Manager, DiGiovanni sat on the panel that voted on which company would be part of the project.
DiGiovanni did not vote in favor of Zachary Corp.
“I was offered and accepted the job for Centro prior to the interviews for the finalists for the Convention Center expansion,” DiGiovanni said during an hour of testimony before the Ethics Review board.
DiGiovanni told the board he's known Zachry for 3 years, but did not know he was president of Zachry Corp.
"I missed this,” DiGiovanni testified. “I just missed this."
After 30 minutes reviewing the testimony in executive session, the board ruled that DiGiovanni violated section 2-43A9 of the code regarding "conflict of interest,” but did not do so knowingly. The board concurred that it was an indirect violation that gave the appearance of an impropriety.
"Obviously we're disappointed that the board didn’t find a decision that was more favorable,” said DiGiovanni’s attorney, Shawn Fitzpatrick. “But we asked for the decision and we're ready to live with the one that was made.”
The board did not recommend any punishment, and often doesn’t.
Board member Michael Ariens says the purpose of the board is not to be punitive, but rather “to educate both city employees and city officials what the rules and standards of ethical behavior should be."
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