City Hall just released a memo from Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler with his suggestions for how the mayor’s side of city government can best respond to member-item requests from City Council members.
Skyler’s memo notes that while the mayor’s office can’t pick organizations to get money, there is a “lack of transparency” that can “create a mistaken impression that the Mayor’s Office is funding its own ‘Member Items.’"
-Identify, before the budget is adopted, the community groups slated to receive money and the elected official who request the funding.
-Require city agencies to ensure that the groups are properly registered charities.
-Have groups acting as a "financial conduit" make a "written agreement” with the other groups they’re funding, and have those secondary groups also go through the vetting process.
-Disclose associations between an elected official and community group they are trying to fund. Here, Skyler notes, “[D]isclosure of a potential conflict by a recipient organization will not necessarily result in a denial of funding, though that is one potential result.”
Skyler also says in the memo that the mayor’s office is seeking the advice of the city Conflict of Interest Board.