Elected officials are to represent the people they serve with all the virtue espoused by those who elect them. Servants of the people must realize they are linked to the people by a bond of trust and transparency. Public officials have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interest of those who pay their salaries. The people of Troup County expect moral excellence from those who represent them. This probably best defines ethics for most. Ethics is moral excellence.
There has been a lot spoken about ethics amongst both incumbent board members and those who are opposing them in the school board elections. Citizens should always stay informed on the ethical conduct of school board members and those who are running against them. As a candidate for school board district 2, as all candidates for public office, I must complete a financial disclosure form listing those who have given monetary gifts. I encourage the public to check all candidates through this site http://www.ethics.ga.gov/. You will find pertinent information about the contributors to each candidate.
The filings of two incumbent board members, Ms. Mathews on June 10 and Ms. Rowe June14, reveal the acceptance of contributions of $500.00 dollars each from a local business that has received approximately 46,000,000 million dollars in compensation for contracted work or services from 2005 to 2010. The acceptance of this money raises several questions. They are the following:
1. Can a board member accept monetary gifts from someone who has received work though the bidding process and remain unbiased?
2. Are all parties participating in the bidding for work notified that board members accept monetary gifts from their competitors?
3. Is there a “potential” conflict of interest involved when a member accepts money from one who has received prior work from the votes of board members in the past, who has a history of bidding on future projects?
The reader is directed to read the Code of Ethics policy for school board members contained in Board Policy/ Board Code of Ethics, Description Code BH. There are eight pages on applicable information as it pertains to ethics.
If you wish to get information about the financial contributions received by candidates or money they have paid to others see http://www.ethics.ga.gov/.