Friday, April 10, 2009


Why would our media not consider an ethics complaint on a council member during the campaign worthy of reporting? We think the voters of Fort Worth would disagree. You decide.

Formal Code of Ethics Complaint filed on Ft. Worth's City Council incumbent, Kathleen Hicks

Section 2-236 of Ft. Worth's City Code states "public office and public employment are positions of public trust imposing the duty of a fiduciary upon all employees and officeholders, who are not to use their public position for personal gain."
Section 2-238 (5) states, "No city officer, employee or advisory board member, or their spouses, shall knowingly use one's position or office of employment, or city facilities, personnel, equipment or supplies for the private gain of the city officer..."

(Click on images below to view
the Ethics Complaint)

Here's an article on meeting in question, it has some very interesting information:

Star Telegraph doesn't know either party - if you would like to learn more this info came from:

1 comment:

Suzette Watkins said...

Thank you so much for posting this information. I did receive a letter from Ft. Worth Attorney, David Yett. He finds that:

" 1. There are no spcefic acts alleged that Ms.Hicks campaigned for re-election at the town hall event.

2. There are no specific acts alleged that any of the named City employees attend the town hall event campaigned for Ms. Hicks or engaged in any political activity.

3. The event was held on private property and not at a city facility.

4. The flyer attached to the complaint does not contain political advertising and does not mentin Ms. Hicks by name.

5. The expenditure and reporting of political contributions are not governed by the City Code of Ethics but rather by state law, i.e. Title 15 of the Election Code. Any complaint concerning these matters falls outside of the jurisdiction of the Ethics Review Committee. For informational purposes, it should be noted that state law generally allows expenditure of political contributions by an office holder for either campaign or officeholder expenses. Political contributions are not political funds.

6. There are no specific acts alleged or evidence presented that Ms. Hicks received any private gain from the event as prohibited by Sec. 2-238(a)(5). Although the term "private gain" is not defined in the Code of Ethics, the similar term "benefit" is defined as "anything reasonable regarded as pecuniary gain or pecuniary advantage, including benefit to any person in whom the beneficiary has a substantial interest, but does not include a political contribution as defined by Title 15, Texas Election Code". See City Code Sec. 2-237. Similarly, the Texas Election Code prohibits converting political contributions to "personal use" but that term is defined as "a use that primarily furthers individual or family purposes not connected with the performance of duties or activities as a candidate for or holder of public office." See Tex.Election Code Sec. 253.035(d). It seems clear that the complainant would have to establish that Ms. Hicks received a private financial gain from the event in order to establish that element of a violation of 2-238(a)(5). The fact that Ms. Hicks may receive some indidental political benefit from attending the town hall event would not establish a violation of 2-238(a)(5), in my opinion.

In summary, I find that the complaint is defective and insufficient because it does not allege specific acts to show the existence of reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of the Code of Ethics has occured. Pursuant to Section 2-249(b) of the Code of Ethics, the complainant may, prior to the preliminary hearing before this Ethics Review Committee, file a sworn amended complaint.