December 14, 2015 •
Broward County Commissioners Vote to Loosen Ethics Rules
Commissioners, by a count of 5-4, voted to loosen the strict gift limits imposed by the county ethics ordinance. Enacted in 2010, the ordinance created a no-gift rule, prohibiting city and county officials from accepting even a bottle of water at an event.
The new rules allow gifts, including non-alcoholic beverages, worth less than $5 and create an exception for gifts of sympathy. Other changes include the burden of reporting lobbying contact shifting away from the public official to the lobbyist and immediate family members may now act as government vendors.
Proponents lauded the changes, stating the zero-tolerance rules created a trap whereby government officials and employees could inadvertently violate the code.
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