Ordinance restricting Plano City Council votes involving campaign contributors up for discussion

council chamber
The ordinance was originally sponsored by former Council Member Lily Bao and Place 8 Council Member Rick Smith. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)

The ordinance was originally sponsored by former Council Member Lily Bao and Place 8 Council Member Rick Smith. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)

Plano City Council is discussing amendments to 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 indicated at the 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.

The ordinance was passed in December in a 4-3 decision. Place 3 Council Member Rick Grady was unavailable to vote at the time. Grady said he does not think the law accomplishes what was intended.

“You could get to a point where the entire council would have to [remove] themselves on an issue and never be able to deliberate because if an individual was now doing a project within the city and that person had donated to everyone over a period," Grady said. "I think the intention was to make much more truthfulness and transparency and openness as to where donations came from. We did not accomplish [that].”

Campaign donations for sitting council members are reported to the city secretary every six months. More frequent campaign finance reports are filed for candidates running for office. Grady said that process holds council members accountable because the contributions are a matter of public record.


The ordinance was originally sponsored by former Council Member Lily Bao and Place 8 Council Member Rick Smith. The measure, Smith said, is not meant to target any specific council member but to avoid a misperception from the community.

“What I intended was two things: One was to eliminate that [perception],” he said. “The second thing I had hoped would happen ... is try to control the crazy amounts of money that is spent and required to run for office. It’s getting ridiculous.”

After the discussion, Muns indicated the city secretary would begin working on potential amendments to the ordinance.

The entire meeting can be viewed 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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