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Friday, September 22, 2023

Madison Ethics Board approves ordinance

In response to a complaint about Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's biking trip to Europe in April, the Madison Ethics Board voted Thursday in favor of an ordinance to establish conditions and procedures for a third party to pay for incumbents' permitted expenses.

Former Ald. Brenda Konkel wrote the formal letter and complaint, calling Cieslewicz's time in Europe ""The Mayor's Bike Ride."" Konkel questioned how his trip will benefit the city of Madison.

The current ethics code allows third parties to pay for city officials' expenses. The one requirement in the code is the funds are for the ""benefit of the city.""

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If the Common Council approves and adopts the ordinance, the city comptroller would review the expenses paid by thrid parties. Additionally the city comptroller would decide what amount the city should reimburse the third party on behalf of the city official.

Steve Brist of the city attorney's office compared the ordinance to current state law.

""This is consistent with the way the state handles things,"" Brist said.

Currently, Wisconsin state officials only get funds that the state allows and must go through a similar reimbursement procedure, according to Brist.

Board member Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, sponsored the ordinance and encouraged the board to recommend the ordinance to the City Council.

""We had a consensus, using the example of the biking trip to Europe, that this [ordinance] was a good idea,"" Verveer said.


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