PBC Ethics to ban gifts from county vendors

Gifts that exceed $100 may be forbidden

Palm Beach County's newly appointed ethics chief is proposing a gift ban.

The ban would prohibit all county government employees and elected leaders from accepting any gift worth more than $100.00 that comes from a company doing business for the county.

The Contact 5 Investigators first exposed the issue last month when we found two high-ranking government employees accepting gifts from a company that made millions of county contracts for the past two decades.

Most recently, 7 mid-level county government employees were arrested, accused of accepting lavish gifts and all expense paid trips from another company, who also had a history of contracts with the county.

"The issue is not only appearance but the reality of vendors buying goodwill by giving gifts," said Al Johnson, executive director of the county's ethics commission.

Johnson, however, acknowledge a tougher gift law can only go so far.

"If someone is a corrupt individual and they're going to violate the law, laws won't stop them," he said.

During a ethics committee drafting meeting on Wednesday afternoon, members agreed to recommend this $100 gift ban apply not just to county vendors, but lobbyists or any employees of lobbyists.

The new rules will not take effect until county commissioners approve the new ethics ordinance. That is expected to happen in May.


Print this article Back to Top