Anyone else troubled by this?

UPDATE: Franklin to veto ethics bill:

“I clearly am planning to veto it,” Franklin said Wednesday evening. “There is no way that we can erode the public confidence by going back to pre-2002 standards.”

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AJC: Atlanta Council votes for freebies:

The new law, approved Monday, would allow any of the city’s elected officials, appointed board members and more than 8,000 employees to accept meals from lobbyists and anyone else doing, or seeking to do, business with the city. The only limit is that the meals cost $75 or less. There is no limit on the number of meals per day, nor on the total cost of multiple meals.

City employees and officials also would be allowed to accept tickets to local events valued up to $100, provided they do not sell or trade those tickets. And for both meals and tickets, staffers do not have to publicly disclose the gifts.

6 comments

  1. Demonbeck says:

    Limits of $100 and $75 on meals is perfectly justifiable. If I had any problem with it, it would be that there are no limits on a per diem basis. Also, I would make the restrictions tougher on higher paid staffers.

    We should not be in the business of worrying about lobbyists taking city employees out to lunch. Frankly, they are usually severely underpaid and should be allowed to take their family to a ballgame on someone else’s dime from time to time.

  2. ulmont says:

    If you were going out 3 times a week for dinner and once for an event on the lobbyist tab, that’s around $17K in extra meals and tickets. This is a non-negligible amount, and is nowhere close to the theoretical maximum of around $119K. The best part is the lack of disclosure, which should make things even more fun (“Yes, of course, I went out with 20 of my closest friends and the lobbyist, and when the $2K check came the lobbyist picked up only the legal $75 of my tab”).

    Now sure, a ball game or a lunch now and again seems pretty harmless, but how do you ensure it stays there?

  3. Decaturguy says:

    Yet, this bill allows lobbyists to spend $75 per meal on these people and it would go unreported.

    I don’t care about gifts, but there should be limits and there should be disclosure.

    Otherwise, it is a recipe for corruption.

  4. kspencer says:

    Let’s see. If I’m a staffer, I can get up to $75 per meal. Three meals a day is $225. Five days a week is only $1,125 (and there’s nothing stopping me from having meals on the weekends as well). $4500 a month. And I don’t have to report it. “Put it on my tab, Joe.” (Yes, I know that if I’m just a staffer I’m not going to get the maximum. On the other hand, if I’m a key member of certain offices it might be worth it to a lobby group to do this for a few months.)

    And the tickets don’t have to be reported, I just have to promise not to resell them. I’m sorry, but wasn’t it this same reselling of tickets despite rules otherwise that caused the rules to tighten a few years ago?

    No, I don’t like these rule changes. I’m glad I don’t live and work where they apply.

  5. Demonbeck says:

    kspencer,

    That is why I said there should be tougher restrictions on higher paid staffers and limits on how often they can be given.

    Don’t punish the worker bees just because their rich boss can’t be trusted with the key to the safe.

Comments are closed.