Ordinance restricting Plano City Council votes involving campaign contributors to remain in place

plano council chambers
Plano City Council members indicated some potential changes that could occur would be related to stricter enforcement, more language to limit potential loopholes and a possible time limit that would allow a council member to still vote on an issue related to a donor if the donation was received at least four years prior. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)

Plano City Council members indicated some potential changes that could occur would be related to stricter enforcement, more language to limit potential loopholes and a possible time limit that would allow a council member to still vote on an issue related to a donor if the donation was received at least four years prior. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)

Plano City Council said it would not repeal an ordinance that forces council members to withdraw from any vote that may benefit a donor who contributed more than $1,000 to their campaign.

Mayor John Muns and Council Members Kayci Prince, Rick Grady, Maria Tu and Julie Holmer previously stated at a July 26 meeting they would be in favor of repealing or amending the ordinance. Council Members Rick Smith, Shelby Williams and Anthony Ricciardelli expressed willingness to discuss potential changes but said they would not be in favor of a repeal.

During the Oct. 25 meeting, council members unanimously agreed that after further discussions and feedback from residents, they would keep the ordinance with a few possible amendments.

Council members indicated some potential changes that could occur would be related to stricter enforcement, more language to limit potential loopholes and a possible time limit that would allow a council member to still vote on an issue related to a donor if the donation was received at least four years prior.

City Manager Mark Israelson said staff would present the potential amendments at a future meeting.


Plano resident Colleen Aguilar-Epstein said during the public comments at the meeting that the ordinance should be even stricter.

“I would limit it to $250,” Aguilar-Epstein said. “I think anything that allows for a conflict of interest should be eliminated.”

The ordinance was originally sponsored by Smith and former Council Member Lily Bao. The measure, Smith said, is not meant to target any specific council member but to avoid a misperception from the community.

“There seems to be a perception ... that there could be some ethical concerns on council,” Smith said. “We will not tolerate ethics violations that could occur like this. I'm so glad we are going to keep it.”

Muns said that he has no issues with keeping the ordinance.

“And I have no problem with putting a time limit on it. From what we gathered, leaving it alone is what the council is leaning towards,” Muns said.

The ordinance, which was originally enacted in a 4-3 vote last December, can be seen here.
By Erick Pirayesh
Erick Pirayesh joined Community Impact Newspaper in May 2021. He is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado Journalism and Media Studies program. He previously served as editor-in-chief of The Channels student newspaper in Santa Barbara, California.


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