Saturday, February 20, 2010
Free Tickets To The Circus Handed Out By Greensboro City Council Members, Is This Legal or Ethical or Conflict of Interest?
The video from above is from the Greensboro City Council meeting on 2-16-2010 where Greensboro City Council member Danny Thompson was thanking other council members Perkins,Kee,Wade and Mayor Knight for donating their Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus tickets to his church to take some deserving montagnards family for a night out.
How many other events do Greensboro City Council members get tickets for?
Is this a perk for being a elected official?
Does this perk go against state law of gift giving?
How many GGO tickets do local elected officials get to hand out?
Should this be reported on campaign contribution forms?
These tickets were given to the Greensboro City Council members by Ringling Brothers. We have seen from Governor Bev Perdue that she did a executive order for state level employees back in the fall , below is part of the executive order.
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 24
REGARDING GIFTS TO STATE EMPLOYEES
WHEREAS, those in State government who do the work of the public must continuously ensure that their actions reflect the ethical standards that are essential to maintaining the public’s trust; and
WHEREAS, N.C. Gen. Stat. 133-32 makes it unlawful for a State employee to willfully receive or accept any gift or favor from a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier of the State agency if the State employee is involved in (1) preparing plans, specifications, or estimates for public contracts; (2) awarding or administering public contracts; or (3) inspecting or supervising construction; and
WHEREAS, N.C. Gen. Stat. 133-32 applies to a limited group of State employees; and
WHEREAS, no State employee should be permitted to accept gifts or favors from contractors working or seeking to work with the employee’s agency; and
Below is from the North Carolina Board of Ethics back in 2001 with a little Google research, CLICKHERE
Should a Public Official accept free tickets from an agency vendor to a sporting event, play, or fundraising event?
Answer: Generally, no. It is generally not proper for Public Officials to accept gifts or services from someone whom the official regulates, contracts with, or otherwise does business with as part of his service as a Public Official. At a minimum, this can cause the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Does it make any difference if the tickets to a sporting event are season tickets or tickets the vendor received as part of its sponsorship of the event so that there was no purchase made specifically for the Public Official?
Answer: No. It does not matter how the vendor got the tickets.
Can a vendor take a Public Official to entertainment events when the Official has traveled to the vendor’s home city or when both vendor and Official are out of town (like at a non-vendor sponsored seminar)?
Answer: Not if it is otherwise prohibited. Ethics requirements do not end at the border.
Who knew that Greensboro City Council members get tickets to events and is this a perk of the job. But in this day and time in North Carolina where people are wanting to curry favors with plenty of local officials and we might see where local officials might want to do the same thing and maybe curry favor with getting tickets for a group of people to want their vote in the upcoming elections . It might be time to look at this program of giving out free tickets and am probably certain that the GGO golf tickets are floating out there for local elected officials to give out as they please. This post is not about who received these circus tickets but was a post about who got to give out these tickets. If ringling wanted to personally give them to a group home or some deserving group it is totally fine but having it go through a local elected official sure does raise some red flags.