Naples City Council votes down motion on ethics committee; judge to decide legality

Do you think Naples City Council members should be held accountable with an appointed ethics committee?

According to some city council members the debate doesn’t matter, because today, they voted 4-3 with Mayor Bill Barnett as a tiebreaker to turn down a motion to put a referendum on the ballot.

Some city council members think the referendum is illegal, so they’re letting a judge decide.

The petition put out by the group “Ethics Naples” wants to establish a committee that would have the power to investigate complaints against Naples city officials.

Ethics Naples successfully got the 1,500 signatures necessary for a referendum to establish the commission on the August primary election ballot.

Lee Keeler, spoke during public comment as a city council meeting saying, “We the people need a say, especially after River Park, if there are constraints on the ethics and what the constraints are.”

Late last year, residents of the River Park area took issue with council member Sam Saad when he failed to disclose a business relationship. The connection was with a real estate group that sold  the property where a new 7-Eleven sits.

The state’s ethics committee threw the case out and that’s why some residents believe they need their own.

A judge now needs to make a decision by late June to decide if it’ll go on the ballot.