Should Vendors with County Contracts Serve on Boards of Agencies with which they have Contracts?

Last month Greenville County Council failed to pass a proposal that would have allowed contractors to serve on the boards and commissions governing agencies with which they have contracts. The motion received six votes. Seven were needed for passage.

The rationale used by those who favor relaxing the ethical standards for boards and commissions is that Council should not impose ethical standards on others that are more stringent than those governing the Council.

Such comments by Council members have prompted a move supported by some Council members to tighten ethical standards for Council members.

Greenville County procurement practices have been a matter of citizen concern for some time and have resulted in numerous legal actions that have cost taxpayers thousands of dollars. Some procurement practices, although technically legal under current state law, raise ethical questions regarding fair and impartial treatment of all potential vendors.

Liz Seman and Lottie Gibson were absent during the vote last month. There will likely be an effort to bring the matter up for another vote later this month. In order to schedule another vote, one of the four councilmen voting in opposition would have to request reconsideration. They were Sid Cates, Joe Dill, Dan Rawls and Willis Meadows.

Council members voting in favor of the change in ethical requirements for commission and board members were Jim Burns, Butch Kirven, Joe Baldwin, Bob Taylor, Xanthene Norris, and Fred Payne.


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