Note: This story was updated at 11 a.m. July 6 with the correct spelling of Joseph Koza's name.

After a debate hashing out the details of a proposed change to Pearland City Council’s ethics ordinance, council members voted unanimously to postpone the second and final reading of the item to July 11.

On June 13, Pearland City Council passed the first reading of an ordinance that would restrict the city from entering into contracts with any council member and any business in which that person has a substantial interest. Pearland City Council at its May 23 regular meeting adopted a separate ordinance that prevents the city from entering into contracts with any former council member and any business they have a substantial interest in for at least 12 months after their successor is sworn in.

According to Council Member Alex Kamkar, these ordinances were proposed to increase transparency between council members and the public.

“I think it’s very important,” he said of the ordinance considered June 27, noting it increases trust between residents and local representatives. “You have to take those concrete steps, and this is one of those key steps.”

Mayor Kevin Cole urged caution. He gave an example of when, in the 1990s, he was on City Council and worked for an insurer that bid on insuring the city of Pearland. To avoid a conflict of interest, the city ended up with a different insurer than the one for which Cole worked despite it being $250,000 cheaper. While transparency with residents is important, City Council should act in the best interests of the city, Cole said.

Council Member Joseph Koza proposed an amendment to the second reading. Under the amendment, the city would not be able to authorize a contract with a current or former council member or a business that a current or former council member has a substantial interest in unless the member with the conflict of interest filed a disclosure of that interest; City Council made an affirmative finding that the contract is in the city’s best interest; the council member in question abstained from the vote; and the vote passed with a three-quarters majority.

After some confusion about the motions and amendments, City Council unanimously voted to postpone the second and final reading to July 11. In the meantime, city staff will update the proposed ordinance based on Koza’s suggestions.