By: Cole Miller
Mayor Chris Beutler wants to end conflicts of interest at City Hall and "level the playing field" when it comes to city contracts.
The capital city is growing. There's no questioning that.
When it comes to helping the city build, often times, work is contracted out. Lincoln mayor Chris Beutler says not everyone should be allowed to do business with the city, though.
More specifically, elected officials and department heads.
"I believe the public wants their leadership to observe the highest ethical standards and to lead by example," Beutler said. "The 'Good Government' resolution will hold them to those high standards."
Beutler says this assures that those elected officials won't use their power for a personal benefit. It's something he believes may be happening now.
"It creates a conflict of interest and a pressure towards corruption that should not exist and need not exist," Beutler said.
Under this resolution, those who contract work through the city can still run for office. However if elected, they must give up that contract.
Current city councilman Jon Camp doesn't like the idea.
"It has a very big chilling effect on business people. It should be called the ABA, Anti–Business Amendment," Camp said.
The only 'immediate' example with this whole idea is Mark Whitehead, CEO of Whitehead Oil. His business has a fuel contract with the city, but he's eyeing an open city council seat.
Beutler says if elected, he'd be exempt because the policy would start a month after the May elections.
Camp says if he's an exception, everyone should be. That way, work that needs done locally, stays local.
"What do we want to do?" Camp asked. "We want economic development from the business community in Lincoln and we want more jobs. This would do exactly the opposite."
Beutler's proposal was presented to the City Council at their meeting Monday. There will be a public hearing on the topic February 25th at 5:30 p.m. at the City/County Building.
The last step would be a decision by voters on May 7th.