FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2014
VIHSTADT PRESSES FOR NEW GIFT BAN
Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt is calling for a firmer and more specific ethics policy regarding gifts to either county board members or county employees.
Vihstadt, an Independent running for re-election Nov. 4, said, ?Arlington must signal its commitment to foster the highest standards of ethical conduct? in the wake of the convictions of former governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen on multiple corruption charges.
?To start, the County should consider adoption of a $100 value limit on gifts from any source per year, and provide that in no instance shall a board member or county employee accept a gift given for services performed within the scope of an employee?s duties or given with intent to influence one?s actions? he added.
The current county ethics policy places no dollar limit on gifts to board members or employees. Vihstadt also noted that the current ethics policy describes ?principles? of proper conduct. ?This is more limited than what I am calling for, which is (a) a rule and not a principle and, (b) I prohibit anything intended to influence – not just items received for actions taken.?
Vihstadt noted that Arlington Public Schools adopted a similar provision effective July 1, and that Gov. Terry McAuliffe has likewise taken comparable strong steps for himself and senior staff in Richmond.
?We must work hard to restore trust in our elected leaders and public officials at all levels of government, Vihstadt said. ?Let?s do our part in Arlington now.?
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