Ringgold Council to vote on forming an Ethics Commission

Ringgold Council to vote on forming an Ethics Commission

March 6th, 2013 by Katie Ward in Catoosa

Ringgold City Councilman Nick Millwood's concern over ethical issues is spurring the possible launch of an Ethics Commission for the city.

The Ringgold City Council will vote on whether to enact an Ethics Commission at its regular meeting Monday, March 11 at 7 p.m. The discussion of ethics was brought up by Millwood publicly during the Council's last meeting.

"One of the mayor's roles is to be the chief advocate of city policy," Millwood said during that meeting. "The Ringgold Council voted recently to move $250,000 into the Ringgold Downtown Development Authority account. Then we set up a meeting later with the DDA to discuss it. [Mayor Joe Barger] tried to undermine what we were doing with the DDA. It sends mixed messages for the mayor to speak out against the official city policy after we vote for it."

He noted that he is not saying Barger should be removed, but Millwood would like everyone to agree to city policies.

"The mayor has the most experience of anyone on the Council, but after the vote it's best to suck it up and go on," Millwood said. "As a city councilman, I'm not interested in the official policy of the city being undermined by the very man that is supposed to be the chief advocate for it. I think it would be a good idea to send these kinds of things to an Ethics Commission. I think the commission should require training on how to handle these issues."

The vote that started it

The Ringgold City Council voted 3-2 to move $250,000 to the Downtown Development Authority account in order to help with facade grants for downtown Ringgold and to hire a DDA director.

"The mayor kept saying it was illegal," said Millwood. "We did it from our rainy day fund. There was nothing illegal about it. It passed on a 3-2 vote."

He, Vice Mayor Randall Franks and Councilman Earl Henderson voted in favor of moving the money to the DDA account while Councilmen G. Larry Black and Terry Crawford voted against it.