SAN ANTONIO - The City Council could vote Thursday on a proposal that would waive any past or future ethics complaints alleging a conflict of interest between Mayor Ivy Taylor and the San Antonio Housing Authority.
Taylor’s office said it is an issue she has wanted to address for some time.
As mayor, Taylor appoints SAHA commissioners. Taylor’s husband, Rodney Taylor, is a landlord for multiple SAHA properties.
“This ordinance will make it clear that any conflict, which may have existed during a very narrow window in the past, will be waived,” Taylor said. “At my request and in the spirit of transparency, this will allow us to move forward with the important work between the city and SAHA without any lingering issues.”
In November 2015, all of the SAHA contracts associated with Taylor’s husband were moved under the umbrella of the Bexar County Housing Authority to remove any conflict of interest.
Taylor’s proposal seems to raise some questions and concerns among council members.
“Because something happened in the past, we can't simply say that it didn’t,” said Ron Nirenberg, District 8 councilman. “To do so by waiving an ethics rule, to me, is not the right thing to do. We either have those ethics rules, or we don’t.”
“It’s important for us to truly have an opportunity to discuss and vet it thoroughly and make sure that any citizen complaint, we don't prevent or stymy or undermine,” said Cris Medina, District 7 councilman.
Both Nirenberg and Medina said they agree the past conflict of interest, however technical, was likely an oversight.
Some City Council members support Mayor Taylor’s proposal.
“I believe Mayor Taylor and the City Attorney’s Office have taken a proactive approach in both transparency and eliminating conflicts of interest,” said Mike Gallagher, District 10 city councilman. “This ordinance is the end result of a series of deliberations and contract reassignments involving Mayor Taylor and her family.”
District 1 Councilman Roberto Trevino said he has no problem with the proposal and sees it as a “way to turn the page” on this issue.
Allegations surrounding a conflict of interest were the subject of many heated campaign ads when Mayor Taylor ran a tight race against former State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte in the summer of 2015.
District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran had no comment Wednesday on the proposal.
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