CINCINNATI (FOX19) - City Councilman David Mann introduced a motion he says would change how development agreements are negotiated.
“We have a big problem in our beloved city, elected officials on the take,” Mann said in the motion sent out Wednesday.
It has been just over a week ago when Councilman Jeff Pastor was arrested on federal bribery-related charges.
Pastor allegedly solicited and received $55,000 in bribes between Aug. 2018 and Feb. 2019 in exchange for favorable action on certain projects being considered by the City of Cincinnati, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Mann says civil servants and developers need to negotiate under written policies adopted by City Council and the mayor.
Under his motion, Council would review and then approve, reject, or modify the proposed development.
If guidance is needed during the negotiations, Mann said negotiators would be expected to use a transparent process involving all elected officials.
The new written Council policies, according to Mann, should do the following:
- Clearly define the separate roles of the city’s development and administrative officers and members of council;
- Establish clear boundaries separating those roles.
Mann said in a statement, detailed development policies outlining when and under what circumstances is it okay for a developer to approach councilmembers regarding new development agreements.
Mann proposes these principles for consideration:
- Council and the mayor should determine development goals including jobs, tax revenues, repopulation, affordable housing, economic inclusion, neighborhood benefit, and so on.
- Council and the mayor should identity available incentives for development and the parameters for their use.
- The mayor, city manager, and our development officers should be the exclusive representatives of the city in the negotiation of development agreements and the presentation to the council of an agreement for review and approval, modification, or disapproval.
- Until the formal presentation of a development agreement to the council, it is not appropriate for developers or their representatives to lobby or otherwise seek to involve members of the council in the negotiation process.
- Nor is it appropriate for councilmembers to involve themselves in the details of ongoing negotiations.
- The rules in paragraphs four and five should be defined as ethics violations with criminal penalties for developers and council members alike. Misconduct by a developer also should result in debarment from future city development projects.
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