It's been six years since I last wrote about local government ethics in Tennessee. In a January 2007
comment to the forum on recusal
, I focused on the fact that
the University of Tennessee's Municipal Technical Advisory Service
(MTAS) (which operates in cooperation with the Tennessee Municipal
League) had prepared a
model municipal ethics code
that allowed, but did not require,
officials with a conflict to withdraw from voting.
My eye was caught by a recent
article in the Tennessean
about the mayor of Cheatham County,
who asked the county commission to create an ethics committee as
required by the county's 2007 ethics code. The county commission
voted against creating this committee, even though it would consist
of from three to five county commissioners, with zero to two other
One county commissioner pointed out that, in its model ethics code, University of Tennessee’s
County Technical Advisory Service (CTAS), the county equivalent of
the MTAS, did not require that counties create an ethics committee.
Therefore, he argued, even though the county commission had passed
an ordinance requiring one, one wasn't required.