At their meeting on November 17, Naperville City Council will discuss adopting new policies to better outline what a conflict of interest is on the dais.
Conflicts of Interest In City Code
The current language in the municipal code was adopted at least as early as 1987 and hasn’t been updated since then, according to city documents. That part of the code already specifies that council members should not partake in discussions or votes in which they have an ownership interest, an employment interest, or a family interest.
The update would expand on that by adding a regulation concerning campaign contributions. If an “interested entity” donates more than $500 in money, services, or other goods to a council member’s campaign, an immediate family member, or an organization supporting a council members candidacy, that also qualifies as a conflict of interest.
The proposed ordinance would also allow a council member to “cure” the conflict of interest by the council member returning or reimbursing the value of the donation prior to the date of the council member’s election.
Conflicts of interest and what constitutes one have come up at council multiple times on recent votes. No clear consensus was ever reached, which led council to ask staff to prepare this ordinance.
Per city documents, the group has two options:
- If a conflict of interest concerning campaign contributions arises, the council member should publicly disclose the conflict and recuse themselves from voting or discussing the issue.
- The same as Option 1, but the council member will not be required to recuse themselves after disclosing the conflict. The council member could still recuse themselves if they feel it would be appropriate.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.