- Associated Press - Sunday, May 11, 2014

MANDEVILLE, La. (AP) - An ordinance approved by the Mandeville City Council last month that requires bidders vying for city contracts to disclose campaign contributions they have made to municipal officials will become law without the signature of Mayor Donald Villere, who says the initiative is confusing.

The mayor, who was first elected in 2010, told Nola.comThe Times Picayune (https://bit.ly/1iR5qJc) it’s the first time he has declined to sign an ordinance into law.

“I feel very strongly that this was nothing more than grandstanding,” Villere said of the ordinance, which was approved 4-0 by the council at its April 10 meeting. “It’s placing information before the public that is confusing and unnecessary.”

The law requires those submitting proposals to provide services for the city to simultaneously submit an affidavit disclosing what contributions they have made to the mayor or to any council member in excess of $200 over the last four years, as well as any debts owed to elected officials in the city government. The same information would also be required of subcontractors.

Those who do not submit the required information with their proposals will not be considered.

Councilman David Ellis, who sponsored the ordinance, said he doesn’t believe there is any wrongdoing in the city at this time. But he said the law might be necessary for future city councils and administrations.

But Villere said the process laid out by the ordinance will be very cumbersome and could discourage vendors from wanting to do business with the city. Moreover, he said currently such information is easily found on the city’s website and through the state ethics website.

The mayor said he opted not to veto the ordinance, but instead decided not to sign it. Under the city charter, the mayor had 10 days to sign the ordinance or veto it. Since neither action took place, the ordinance becomes law without the mayor’s signature. The city published the ordinance in its official journal, and it will become law on June 1.

“Regardless of the mayor’s reasons for opposing the ordinance or for choosing to let it become law without his signature, I’m glad to see it taking effect soon,” Ellis said.

“While I do not believe there has been any wrongdoing in the awarding of city contracts, this isn’t just for the six of us currently in office but for future office-holders, as well. I believe the citizens and taxpayers of Mandeville will appreciate the increased transparency the ordinance provides,” he said.


Information from: The Times-Picayune, https://www.nola.com

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