Lakeway City Council voted to update the city’s ethics code after a monthslong effort from the city’s ethics committee centered on overhauling several aspects of it.
The vote followed extended discussion on the issue during a special City Council meeting May 15 that spilled over into the May 20 meeting. The overhaul tackled several shortcomings in the city’s code, according to Clay Strange, chairperson of the city Board of Ethics, who said last week the committee spent the greatest amount of time trying to balance citizen privacy with government transparency.
“What we spent the biggest part of our time on was trying to balance the privacy concerns of people that might have a complaint filed against them, and at the same time making sure there was transparency and openness in the process,” Strange said May 15. “We believe we’ve succeeded in balancing those two things as well as it can be done.”
For people who have complaints filed against them, it was important for the committee to ensure the new code language provided a proper due process system that allowed more leverage in presenting their side of an argument, Strange said, adding that could include providing witnesses.
Other changes included removing certain sections, amending the definition of what constitutes a vendor to include any person engaging in a contract with the city and requiring any complaint to the city be filed under oath.
During the May 15 special meeting prior to the May 20 vote, Council highlighted several elements within the ethics committee’s retooled code that included removing or correcting any typos and removing any reference to the word “frivolous” to reduce any mischaracterizations of complaints or claims.
Council also voted on clarifying language regarding how the city’s official zoning map of Lakeway is updated. The language states the city utilizes GIS Software to update the map as opposed to listing approved zoning changes on the paper map.
For the final change to the city’s code of ordinances made during the May 20 meeting, officials voted to amend a section to specifically explain why exemptions are granted to the city and Lake Travis ISD from certain building and development fees.