Area cities look at ethics

Tennessee Waltz forced even local government to have ethics codes.

Collierville aldermen took a vote Monday night to lay down the law on ethics codes for town officials. The bill would require the local ethics standards to include the disclosure of gifts or other things of value or personal interest.

Town Administrator James Lewellen would help enforce the code. He says the ten ethics rules are all based on one common thread: conflict of interest.

"We just tried to think of every possible conflict of interest and the types of things you could do to abuse your authority," he explained.

Collierville Mayor Linda Kerley says the Tennessee Waltz ethics crackdown put the issue on the radar.

"Unfortunately, what happened in the past few months has been a blemish on this area and we certainly didn't want that to ever radiate out to Collierville," she said.

The state doesn't mandate municipalities set ethics codes in stone until June of next year, but Collierville wanted to get the jump because town ethics codes didn't include alderman.

"Just don't take advantage of your position to gain favor and don't try to, don't allow yourself to be in a position to be duly influenced," said Lewellen.

The town administrator told alderman he would seek outside counsel to investigate any ethics violations.

"You are after all my bosses," he responded

In the end, the alderman voted unanimously to approve the new ethics code. Though it was not required, the mayor made a point to vote in favor of tonight's ethics code.