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WVXU has been covering the stories of politics and corruption at Cincinnati's City Hall since early 2020. We have now launched an initiative to more closely examine Cincinnati politics and the individuals who have shaped it, along with the current allegations of corruption. We'll also explore proposals for change, and seek feedback from local leaders and community members on what can be done to restore trust in City Hall.Trust in Local Government, WVXU's Public Integrity Project will analyze our council-manager form of government and the charter amendments designed to reinforce ethical standards at City Hall; take a historical look at corruption in Cincinnati government; talk with the candidates for Cincinnati mayor and continue with an ongoing series of features, interviews and candidate profiles.

Keating Proposes 'Resign To Run' Charter Amendment To Fight Corruption

liz keating
Jolene Almendarez
Interim Cincinnati Council Member Liz Keating announced the 'Resign to Run' proposed charter amendment Tuesday, July 13.

A newly proposed charter amendment would require city council members and the mayor to resign if they are running for another salaried, elected position. Interim Cincinnati Council Member Liz Keating announced the proposal this morning, saying it's a step toward preventing corruption and keeping elected officials focused on Cincinnati. 

"It's called 'Resign to Run.' If a member of council or the mayor want to run for another office, they should resign first. We need, now more than ever, public servants and not politicians," she said. 

The amendment wouldn't require resignations in all cases, only in instances when the campaign contribution limits of the sought-after office exceed the city's. For instance, a council member running for mayor wouldn't have to resign because the campaign contribution limit for both positions are $1,100.

"In other words, once a council member or mayor files the documentation to begin fundraising for another office outside of the city, they are no longer eligible to serve for the city," Keating said. "It results in an automatic irrevocable resignation from office." 

She says Cincinnati politics have often been a steppingstone to higher office and the amendment will help prevent corruption as people eye other elected positions. Keating pointed to the example of if a council member runs for Congress, that person could not create a quid pro quo in exchange for large contributions to their congressional campaign. 

"What we want to do is do what's right for Cincinnati and people of Cincinnati, and while you're here serving in City Hall, you should be focused on City Hall," she said.

There are five states — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii and Texas — and the city of Philadelphia that have similar regulations in place. 

Keating says the proposed amendment can be considered by council after summer recess, though she's yet to speak to her colleagues about the issue. 

If passed by City Council, it would be on the ballot for residents to consider in November. Keating could also opt to collect residential signatures to put the issue on the ballot if council rejects the proposed amendment. 

Jolene Almendarez is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants who came to San Antonio in the 1960s. She was raised in a military family and has always called the city home. She studied journalism at San Antonio College and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Public Communications from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She's been a reporter in San Antonio and Castroville, Texas, and in Syracuse and Ithaca, New York.