Members of Pearland City Council, any business entity in which they have a substantial interest, could be barred from entering into contracts

PEARLAND, Texas — Current Pearland City Council members, and any business entities in which they have a substantial interest, may soon be barred from entering into contracts with the city.

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Pearland City Council at its regular meeting on June 13 passed by a 4-1 vote the first reading of an ordinance that would prevent the city from accepting contracts with current council members and any business entities. in which that person has a substantial interest if approved in the second reading.

“The impact of the change would simply mean that the city would not have the ability to enter into a contract with a sitting city council member or a business entity, in which that council member has a substantial business interest,” said the city ​​attorney, Darrin Coker. .

The amendment to the Ethics Ordinance is not official until the passage of the second reading, which is expected to be held on June 27. The point came up several council meetings when the city council considered making some initial changes to the ethics ordinance regarding the former council. members, Coker said.

Pearland City Council at its regular meeting on May 23 passed the second reading of an ordinance that prohibits the city from entering into contracts with former council members and any business in which they have a substantial interest for at least 12 months after the swearing in of their successor. in.

Councilman Joseph Koza, who was the only one to vote against the first reading, expressed concern that the amendment change could prevent small businesses in the city from entering into smaller agreements, such as goodwill contracts. command, with the city.

Koza used his company Koza Inc., which focuses on embroidery, screen printing and other services, as an example of a business that could potentially be negatively affected by the general order.

The way the ordinance is worded prohibits the city from entering into contracts with current council members, Coker said. Board members Jeff Barry and Woody Owens were not present at the meeting.

Pearland currently follows state law, which allows cities to enter into a contract with a council member or business entity in which they have a substantial interest, but that council member must file an affidavit with the city clerk. and abstain from discussing and voting on the contract, Coker said. If the second reading passes, it will be stricter than state law, he said.

Council member Alex Kamkar expressed support for the ordinance amendment and praised former council member Trent Perez for pushing the council to consider the amendments.

According to a June Pew poll, 65% of Americans think most political candidates who run for office nationally do so for their own personal interests. In that same poll, he found that about 66% of Americans have a positive view of their local governments, which is down a slight 3 percentage points from 2019, according to the study, but higher than trust. state and federal governments.

“I think we’ve heard a lot of comments about rebuilding trust with citizens and things of that nature, and I think that kind of thing that (Perez) brought up and that we relied on really shows that we are trying to go above and beyond to rebuild that trust,” Kamkar said.

Editorial Note: This article has been updated to include local government data points from a Pew poll.

This article comes from our partners ABC13 at Community Impact Newspapers.

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