Bowling Green commissioners vote on ethics ordinance and small business grant

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Bowling Green City Commissioners voted to amend sections of the city’s Code of Ethics and also passed an ordinance to create a BG Cares Small Business Grant Program.

The commissioners met Tuesday night via teleconference and voted unanimously to amend sections regarding definitions, standard of conduct, conflicts of interest and other items in the code of ethics.

According to commissioner Sue Parrigin, this vote was only to “clean up” some of the language in the code.

Left out of that vote, was the heavily debated discussion of who should pay the legal fees that are acquired when someone is investigated for violating the city’s code of ethics.

Some believe the commissioners should be held accountable for their actions,requiring them to pay for the acquired fees.

“As an elected official, I feel that I need to be held accountable for my actions. If my actions cost the taxpayers money then that is fundamentally wrong to me,” Parrigin stated.

Others are worried that it could be used as a weapon to force someone to pay excessive and unlimited legal fees.

Commissioner Dana Beasley-Brown stated during the meeting that, “In both the U.S and Kentucky constitution, excessive fines are unconstitutional. I believe that we can hold city officials to the highest ethical standards without excessive fines”.

This proposal comes over a year after commissioner Brian “Slim” Nash was investigated for an ethics violation after he was arrested on public intoxication charges in May of 2019.

The city hired outside counsel to help with the investigation which cost the city around $20,000.

The city’s Board of Ethics has been working to propose ways to not incur costs like that again.

Parrigin says it is her hope that the commission visits this issue again in January 2021.

Another item on the agenda that passed unanimously by the board was the ordinance to create the BG Cares Small Business Grant Program.

This program will help many local businesses affected by the pandemic. The program is for businesses with less than 50 employees. Those with fewer than 25 are eligible for $2,500 grants. Those with 26 to 50 employees are eligible for $5,000 grants.

The city will use $1.885 million in federal CARES act funds to create this program to help local small businesses.

To apply for the

grant click here.