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