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Changes could be coming to City Council's ethics review process

Councilmen propose different solutions to issue

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SAN ANTONIO – It could be left to voters to strengthen the city's ethics review process after a decision in the wake of a waiver that pardoned the ethics violations of Mayor Ivy Taylor.

Councilmen Ron Nirenberg and Rey Saldana submitted a joint request to strip the council of the ability to make similar ethics waivers in the future.

Meanwhile, Councilman Roberto Trevino requested the creation of an ethics officer, who would not be affiliated with the council. But that can't happen until an election is held in November 2017.

On Wednesday, the city's Governance Committee voted in favor of combining both requests and have them reviewed further.

That means the request by Saldana and Nirenberg could not take affect immediately.

"We could have put forward a policy in place so that the City Council would not be officiating itself with respect to ethics. We wouldn't be able to provide waivers to one another," Saldana said.

"In my opinion, they should have been combined from the start. Councilman Trevino had obviously been working on this for a while and had put a lot of thought and effort into a comprehensive look at the ethics ordinance. So I think it would have made sense for those two councilmen to work with him," Taylor said.

Last month, the council voted to waive past ethics violations of Taylor having to do with the San Antonio Housing Authority.

Taylor appoints SAHA commissioners, but her husband earned income from section 8 housing vouchers administered through SAHA. Those vouchers are now under the umbrella of the Bexar County Housing Authority.