Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Who Will Be the Nosh Police to Monitor Meals?

Council Members Erik Cole and Rip Ryman are carrying through with plans to allow groups to patronize Council Members by providing them meals by bringing their measure up for first reading tonight. Here's the food provision in the very long ethics bill:
Employees ... shall not accept meals, beverages, food, free or discounted admissions, tickets, access to events or travel expenses from any single source of an aggregate Value in any calendar year in excess of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), provided that an employee may accept from the sponsoring organization, on behalf of himself and a guest, free or discounted admissions, tickets or access of a face value in excess of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) if the event is generally recognized as an annual fund raising benefit sponsored by a non-profit organization.
To put it in clear terms: Council Members will have a meal allowance of up to $100 each year from patron organizations that might step up to feed them on meeting nights. Currently, Council Members are responsible for providing their own meals during meetings, which sounds both appropriate and easier to police. If the bulk of Metro employees have to provide their own meals during their work days, why should Metro Council Members be any different? If you believe that being a council member and feeding yourself is too difficult, then do not run for Metro Council.

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