Gwinnett commissioners delay ethics policy vote


None - Gwinnett County commissioners have delayed a vote that would have created a new, tougher ethics policy.

The issue came up for a vote Tuesday night. The commissioners voted to put it off for one month after some raised concerns over unintended consequences.

 “I thought it was very, very important as part of the steps toward regaining public trust," Gwinnett County commissioner Charlotte Nash said.

 When Nash was sworn in as chair of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners, she made a new ethics policy a top priority. Nash was trying to move the county passed a year of scandal. Former commissioner Kevin Kenerly was indicted for allegedly taking bribes in land deals and former chair Charles Bannister resigned to avoid an indictment of his own.

 "I think it's very important we have a unanimous vote on the ordinance and a good feeling among all the board members about ability to support it," Nash said.

 She said the full support wasn't there Tuesday night. A vote was tabled after some commissioners raised concerns about some of the policy's language. The ordinance has several new provisions and penalties, chief among them being that commissioners must disclose if they receive more than $100 in one year from any individual or entity. They would also be required to disclose financial relationships with anyone wanting to do business with the county.

 Though no commissioners raised any specific objections to any parts of the ordinance, citizen watchdogs said stalling the vote is a red flag to voters.

 "I’m concerned that they're not taking this seriously enough, and I'm concerned that they don't understand the level of distrust that voters have for them," said Sabrina Smith, with the Gwinnett Citizens for Responsible Government.

 The vote has been rescheduled for Nov. 15. Nash told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh she would be very surprised if it wasn't on the books by the end of the year.

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