Corpus Christi City Council simplifies process for filing ethics complaints

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The Corpus Christi City Council, having proven its bravery on the frontier of open meetings law, has decided it only takes one person to file an ethics complaint against a city official.

It used to take five, according to the Corpus Christi Caller Times today.

The council voted 5-2 to join the rest of the civilized world, or at least the state’s major cities, to allow for a citizen to file an ethics complaint very much like a police report, the story says.

The previous threshold of corroborators might have had something to do with no one filing an ethics complaint in Corpus Christi, something longtime assistant city attorney Jay Reining pointed out.

Given the threat to the reputations of officials just like himself, Council member John Marez voted against the change. Marez and City Manager Ron Olson estimated it would take three people signing the same complaint to protect officials from false ethics complaints.

Given what people say every day about their city officials, Council member David Loeb, who supported the revision, said, having someone backing it in writing might be an improvement.

"They can accuse us of anything they want on a daily basis, anyway," Loeb said. "I don't think that we can regulate lying and politics. It would be great if we could, but we can't."

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Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo of Corpus Christi Cathedral by flickr user The Brit_2, used via a Creative Commons license.