Eric Johnson, Dallas’ mayor who came under scrutiny for taking a job with a high-profile Dallas law firm just a few months after campaigning on fixing the city’s ethics problems, selected a head of ethics reform Friday. Attorney Tim Powers gets the honor.
As the so-called Ethics Czar, the Haynes and Boone Managing Partner will helm a small “working group” to take a complete look at the city’s ethics code. Powers will also be in charge of selecting the members of that group.
Our city has seen its fair share of ethical mishaps in recent years. Former City Councilman Dwaine Caraway is currently serving a four and a half year prison sentence for taking $450,000 in bribes and kickbacks related to bus system Dallas County Schools. Former Councilwoman and the late Carolyn Davis pleaded guilty to accepting $40,000 from affordable housing developer Ruel Hamilton before she was killed by an intoxicated driver.
Former Councilman Philip Kingston was hit with a minor ethics violation in 2017 when he filmed a campaign ad inside City Hall. Councilman Casey Thomas received a small reprimand—still pending Council approval—for failing to report his use of VisitDallas’ suite at American Airlines Center on his annual gift disclosures. Former Councilman and mayoral candidate Scott Griggs’ 2015 run-in with Secretary Bilierae Johnson, in which he allegedly threatened to break her fingers, also feels noteworthy here.
Ethics received even more attention during the campaign cycle when piles of questionable campaign donations came to light, first revealed by D Magazine with a story about young children who managed to donate money to campaign efforts.
The mayor says there have been “too many Dallas leaders engaged in improprieties.” The Powers-led group will bring recommendations to the mayor, who expects Council to vote on them by end of June. Powers could also make “any other related proposals for safeguards that can ensure ethical behavior in city government.”
Because there aren’t enough picture of politicians in front of flags on this websites, here is everyone during the announcement today:
#NEW @DallasMayor announces new ethics reform czar, Tim Powers, an atty in #Dallas who chairs Ethics Advisory Cmte. He hopes by June, Council will vote on recommendations by Powers & others to change the city’s ethics code. This to apply to elected officials & employees. @CBSDFW pic.twitter.com/W5DizTl9OO
— Jack Fink (@cbs11jack) November 8, 2019