June 17, 2013 10:11:37 AM
A proposed ethics policy tabled at last month's Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitor's Bureau Board of Directors meeting will once again come before the board when it meets at 4 p.m. today.
The draft of the policy that was presented during the May meeting defined conflicts of interest, set guidelines for avoiding them and established a written board meeting policy as well as a code of conduct.
CVB Executive Director Nancy Carpenter, who wrote the proposed code, said last month that there are no such policies in place currently that members can reference.
If members pass a resolution to adopt the policy, they will approve a code dictating that no elected official, CVB board member, CVB employee or immediate family member is allowed to request or receive any public funds from the CVB. Those parties would also not be allowed any financial interest in a CVB-funded event nor can they be in any way associated with documents required to request funding. The policy also requires directors to disclose any self interest in a transaction or event under board consideration as a transparency measure.
The option comes before members on the heels of one of their own being removed from the board last week. Harvey Myrick was informed he would no longer serve on the board last Tuesday after he refused to resign. Lowndes County Board of Supervisors President Harry Sanders and Columbus Mayor Robert Smith, who jointly appointed Myrick in 2011, cited conflict of interest issues related to Myrick's association with the Grilling on the River festival, which he founded in 2006. Documents with the Mississippi Secretary of State's office dated Feb. 26 of this year state Myrick transferred his status as the festival's president to Chuck Cook. The filing date is one day after the CVB opted to give Grilling on the River $8,000 as a quality of life event. Sanders and Smith have not replaced Myrick, leaving eight people serving on the board of directors.
Also tabled last month was a resolution approving teleconferencing as an acceptable form of attendance for members who could not attend the board meetings.
Board members will also consider five requests for festival funding, including Roast-N-Boast, Dinner Theatre, The Tennessee Williams Tribute, Caledonia Days and MLK/Dream 365.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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