“A Shining Example to Other Municipalities”

The Morning Call
May 20, 2017
Bethlehem can be ‘shining example’ with comprehensive ethics ordinance

My wife and I are new residents of the Bethlehem area and we attended the May 2 City Council meeting. The main issue that evening was the need for an ethics ordinance for our chosen home city, and we agree. I’ve now read both the Olga Negron-Michael Colon and Shawn Martell proposals and both have merit. However, the Martell proposal only establishes training for City Council members and any other employee that may be covered by the ordinance.

City Council needs to create an ethics ordinance similar to the Negron-Colon proposal but unique to Bethlehem. That ordinance should contain both a training component and a clear code of ethics. Enforcement of the ordinance would be administered by a board of ethics, not handled through law enforcement unless corruption is involved.

An established ethics ordinance would allow City Council to operate freely but avoid even a hint of impropriety. If City Council loses the respect and trust of the citizens, its ability to operate will be hampered by suspicion.

I hope City Council will work to create an ethics ordinance for our city — an ordinance that could be a shining example to other municipalities in the Lehigh Valley.

Ed Phillips