GREENSBORO, NC — City Council representatives in Greensboro are not allowed to withdraw from official actions for secret reasons. The city council’s code of ethics says that elected officials are to abide by the city’s conflict of interest ordinance. That ordinance (Sec. 4.131) says officials who have a conflict of interest must withdraw from consideration of the conflicting matter and not vote on it. But they have to explain to the public what their conflict is, on the public record of the city council says the ethics code, and any council person who conceals such a financial interest “shall be guilty of malfeasance in office or position and shall forfeit his office or position.”
On August 15, 2017, Councilman Justin Outling excused himself from two votes on city contracts, one for Level 3 Communications and the other for United Healthcare. He did so without explaining why he was withdrawing. He kept those reasons secret, a violation of city’s conflict of interest ordinance. Watch what happens when this citizen asks him to rectify that ethics violation by explaining in public the nature of his conflicts.