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Saturday August 23rd 2014

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Gunther violated city code of ethics

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Note: Fred Gunther believes that the city code of ethics does not apply to the CMPA. He sent me the following statement: “I believe the headline “Gunther Violates City Ethics Code” is misleading as no opinion has been rendered by the City Attorney’s office or anyone else that this is the case. The City Attorney has stated publicly that they can not represent the CMPA, as it is a 501c3 non-profit corporation and not a City Board.”

I believe that the CMPA is an extension of the Pensacola City Council and should follow the same code of ethics as the entire city government. The city council will have to make the final decision on the matter.

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Yesterday, CMPA board member Fred Gunther tried to present a competitive bid for Parcel 1 at the Maritime Park. He recused himself from vote but only after raising concerns about the Beck proposal for the same parcel. The city ethics prohibits any such acts by a sitting city council or board member.

The codes states: “An official or employee must refrain from acting upon or participating in, formally or informally, a decision-making process with respect to any matter before the city, if acting on the matter, or failing to act upon the matter, may personally or financially be of personal benefit to himself, herself or a relative or business associate.

Furthermore, the code defines who qualifies as an official: “Official or employee means any elected or appointed official or employee of the city, whether paid or unpaid, and includes all members of a board, body, advisory board, council, commission, agency, department, district, administration, division, bureau, committee, or subcommittee of the city. This definition includes members of council and the mayor.”

The question for the Pensacola City Council is was Gunther given a copy of the code of ethics. What kind of orientation are board members given on Sunshine Laws and the Code of Ethics? Who handles the orientation?

If Gunther was given a copy of the code, then he should resign or be removed by the city council.