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Published: Saturday, 9/30/2006

Consensus on ethics eludes City Council

Toledo City Council members met in a work session yesterday to try to iron out a compromise on whether council members should be able to accept free tickets or gifts, but did not reach a consensus.

Council last week delayed voting on a resolution proposed by Councilman Frank Szollosi prohibiting council members from accepting any gifts other than ceremonial items, such as pens.

A less restrictive ordinance proposed by council President Rob Ludeman would allow gifts valued at up to $75.

The state ethics law covering elected officials doesn't set a dollar limit on gifts, but requires public disclosure of any gift worth more than $75.

As sponsor of the proposed gift ban, Mr. Szollosi said the measure would help restore public trust in council's integrity.

Mr. Ludeman and others say elected officials already are adequately covered by the Ohio ethics law.

The discussion yesterday focused on whether councilmen should be allowed to accept free tickets to events that they attend as public officials, ranging from charity fund-raisers to University of Toledo football games.

The competing ethics proposals are expected to be voted on at council's meeting Tuesday.

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