North Texas Daily

Public hearing date, quorum for ethics complaints not set

Public hearing date, quorum for ethics complaints not set

Public hearing date, quorum for ethics complaints not set
April 03
01:52 2019

After meeting last week and deciding to conduct a public hearing regarding ethics complaints against two city council members, the City of Denton Board of Ethics must appoint a minimum of four members to participate in the hearing. However, due to numerous potential conflicts of interest, the pool of members who might be eligible participate is slim, as discussed at Tuesday’s work session.

Two complaints were filed against Denton City Council At Large Place 5 member Deb Armintor and At Large Place 6 member Paul Meltzer following their input on an Election Day voting location on campus. The Board of Ethics, which was established last year, had previously found it to be a conflict of interest for Armintor and Meltzer to be involved in discussions relating to a polling place at UNT due to their involvement with the university. Meltzer’s wife and Armintor are both UNT employees.

According to the Denton Record-Chronicle, several current members of the board of ethics are ineligible.

Ethics board member Ron Johnson, who filed the complaints against Armintor and Meltzer, is not eligible due to having filed the complaints.

Board members Ben Clark and Sandy Kristoferson resigned and their places on the board have not yet been filled.

Karen McDaniels and Deborah Cosimo are not able to fully serve because Armintor and Meltzer appointed them to the board last year, the Record-Chronicle reported.

Jesse Davis is running for City Council District 3, a campaign that initiated David Zoltner’s leave of absence as well as that of Kara Engstrom. Engstrom is working on Diana Leggett’s campaign, Davis’ opponent in the race.

In a written statement published in the Record-Chronicle on Tuesday, Johnson provided his reasoning for filing the complaint.

“I did not file an ethics complaint to suppress the vote of students, nor did I want to deny Paul Meltzer’s and Deb Armintor’s constituents their rightful representation,” Johnson wrote. “I believe there should be a polling place on college campuses, and I believe they should have been able to vote on it.”

Johnson asked that if nothing is done about Armintor and Meltzer’s disregard for the board of ethics ruling, “wouldn’t that be the epitome of hypocrisy?”

“That is why a complaint was required — to determine if the UNT deliberation and vote was or was not a violation of the ethics ordinance,” Johnson wrote. “Also, it was a mechanism to ensure the Ethics Board is consistent, to the extent possible, in administering the ordinance until the council decides to fix the conflict of interest and other provisions.”

Following the issues regarding conflict of interest, the ethics board is set to revisit their definition of conflict. However, they are not expected to discuss that topic until after Election Day in May.

The public hearing for the complaints has not been scheduled at this time and the ethics board could hold a preliminary hearing to determine whether to issue any subpoenas or settle other issues prior to the public hearing.

Featured Image: Deb Armintor, then-candidate for At Large Place 5 on the Denton City Council, speaks during a forum on March 26, 2018 at the Denia Recreation Center. File

About Author

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel was the news editor at the North Texas Daily from August 2018 to May 2019, and previously served as a staff writer from June 2017 to August 2018.

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