City council vote to receive recommendations on potentially amending city’s ethics ordinance

El Paso News

Council was in executive session for over an hour during Tuesday's regular meeting, and looked at transparency matters over releasing confidential information to the public.

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso City Council taking up what can and can’t be released to the public when it comes to confidential city information. This all revolves around some proposed changes to the City’s ethics ordinance.

Council was in executive session for over an hour during Tuesday’s regular meeting, and looked at transparency matters over releasing confidential information to the public.

City Rep. Henry Rivera placed the item on the agenda, in efforts to “protect integrity of the process to ensure there’s no financial liability to the taxpayers” and add an “extra layer of protection for the council.”

City Attorney Karla Nieman said the City’s Ethics Commission has been doing a lot of work prepping several amendments to the current ethics ordinance. That work includes guidance on what’s considered confidential information, and what happens when it’s released to the public.

​”Obviously depending on the type of information and when council is receiving it, it’s important for council to have the ability to receive information and make decisions that should not be previewed to the public based on the Texas Open Meetings Act,” Nieman explained.

Nieman said some of the topics which have been proposed to remain in closed session involve consultation with attorney, real estate negotiations, and economic development negotiations.

Council voted 5 to 3 in favor of the City Attorney to bring recommendations on how to update the City’s ethics ordinance and to include any council recommendations made. Reps. Svarzbein, Annello, and Hernandez voted against.

Those updates are expected to be brought to council in the next couple of weeks.

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