Franklin Alderman John Nelson thought he had a great opportunity Tuesday night to persuade his colleagues on the Common Council to approve creation of a new ethics committee. Nelson even wore red, white, and blue attire and a mask with an American flag.
His poorly planned effort was nearly a complete bust.
Maybe Nelson didn’t expect every council member who spoke to have serious questions about the effectiveness of an appointed, unelected ethics committee.
Maybe he wasn’t fully prepared.
Maybe the folks that put this bug in his ear were as ill-informed as he was.
Maybe that’s why he came off sounding so dumbfounded.
Maybe that’s why he had zero answers for any of the questions posed. One of the best came from Shari Hanneman. Will city officials have to publicly post their federal income taxes?
The most effective and powerful moment from Tuesday’s meeting came from City Attorney Jesse Wesolowski, quite possibly the best city attorney in the state. Alderwoman Kristen Wilhelm wanted his take in general on the matter.
Wesolowski proceeded to rattle off critical pieces from state Statutes public officials already are required to follow. The interpretation, at least in my view, was why in the world do we even need an ethics committee?
In a feeble attempt to wipe the egg off his face, Nelson offered a concession. After the discussion Nelson said this was exactly what he was hoping to hear so the best details could eventually be hammered out (Yeh, right). The council agreed to let Nelson come back at a later undetermined date to address unanswered questions and concerns.