Vail Daily letter: Elevating our standards
Recently, I attended one of the first working sessions of the new Avon Town Council. I specifically attended the meeting as a review of Avon’s Code of Ethics was on the agenda. There was a long, thoughtful, open discussion between the Town Council members on how to strengthen the Code of Ethics in order to bring much-needed integrity to our elected officials. After the debacles over conflicts of interest, real or perceived, and other ethical issues that have engulfed Avon, it was very refreshing to see the council’s determination to raise the bar for our elected officials. Avon’s Code of Ethics should be the gold standard for other communities and reflect federal and corporate ethics laws.
There were lots of excellent suggestions made on how to avoid conflicts of interest including: Not allowing spouses of other council members to serve at the same time; not allowing council members who work for other council members to serve at the same time; strengthening transparency; not allowing council members to bid on government contracts while serving, and for a period of time after their public service; and strengthening residency rules so that only those actually living in Avon can serve on the Town Council.
Public service is an honor and those who decide to serve must do so not for their own personal gain but to serve the best interests of the public and community who elected them. If someone is not willing to make personal sacrifices while they are serving then they shouldn’t run for elected office.
The reputation and integrity of each council member will be judged by how they conduct themselves in office.
The council has more discussion and work to do to strengthen Avon’s Code of Ethics and I applaud their initial efforts to do so quickly as they start their new year.
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As I suggested to the council members, don’t do anything that gets you in the Vail Daily for questionable conduct. Adhering to that rule and strengthening the Code of Ethics will do a lot to restore public confidence in Avon’s elected officials — which is much needed after the last few years.
I look forward to seeing how the new Avon Town Council actually executes on this important subject.