LEAGUE CITY — Council members like the idea of having an ethics review board. Most just don’t like how the board members are appointed.
At today’s City Council meeting, the process of how members have that board are appointed is up for a discussion.
The board, created in 2009, has eight members who each serve two-year terms. The mayor and council members each have one appointment to the board.
The board’s primary duty is to investigate complaints and make findings and conclusions concerning allegations of violations of the city’s ethics rules. Critics argue the board has focused less on its primary duty and prefers to play politics.
Chris Mallios, the board’s chairman, supports the appointment process and said despite accusations to the contrary, every single person on the board “has left their politics at the door.”
In December, several appointments to the board were rejected because most on the council want to overhaul the appointment process. Even members whose terms have expired remain on the board because their replacements haven’t been appointed.
Five months later, nothing has come of those calls for change.
Mayor Tim Paulissen said at the request of a council member and in an effort to get the process moving, he added the board’s appointment process to the meeting’s agenda.
Paulissen said he’d like to see a process where members are selected at random.
“I would probably say each council member would nominate a couple of people and we would solicit applications from the general public,” Paulissen said. “Then all of those names would be put into a hopper, and we would draw for the positions.”
That plan has at least timid support from Councilman Todd Kinsey, who has been critical of the board’s performance. Transcripts from meetings that Kinsey gathered show that even though no one has filed a complaint for the board’s review, members of the board would come up with their own complaints.
The board is supposed to look into complaints of ethical violations that come from outside the committee members.
Mallios insists that is how the board handles its business.
To date, the board has yet acted on any formal complaint. The board did review a few accusations, but its inquiries went nowhere, Mallios said.
“I like the way it sounds when we talk about doing a random selection, similar to a grand jury,” Kinsey said. “Political appointees shouldn’t be deciding other people’s fates.”
Mallios said he’d be fine with a random selection process, just as long as a majority on the council could not block individual appointments.
“The process we have now is fair,” he said.
Councilman Andy Mann is another wanting to change how board members are appointed, but he objected to holding up the nomination of new members until changes are made.
Councilwoman Heidi Thiess and Councilman Dan Becker have also expressed a desire for an overhaul to the appointment process.
Today’s discussion will mostly be “everybody trying to get their head around what needs to be done,” Kinsey said.
Paulissen said he would like to have a three-member committee of Mann and Councilwomen Joanna Dawson and Geri Bentley formed to come up with a proposal that the council would consider.
At a glance
WHAT: League City Council meeting
WHEN: 6 p.m. today
WHERE: Council chambers, 200 W. Walker St., in League City