The Salt Lake City Council is expected to grant Mayor Rocky Anderson permission to begin raising funds for his start-up nonprofit organization before his term in office ends.
In a straw-poll Tuesday night, four members of the council indicated they would approve Anderson's request for a waiver of the ordinance that prohibits city public servants from seeking or receiving gifts for matters other than official city business.
The council will vote on a resolution granting the request at its meeting next week.
Anderson plans to start a nonprofit organization for the education and advocacy of human rights and climate-change issues, likely to be called HumanKind Education Fund Inc.
In a letter to the City Council dated Oct. 30, Anderson said he anticipates being on the organization's board, serving as an officer and working for it as a full-time, paid employee. The mayor plans to begin work with the group immediately after he leaves office Jan. 7, 2008.
Addressing the council in a work session Tuesday night, Anderson said he will seek contributions only from those who have no current business dealings with the city and are not likely to do so in the future. He also said he will not use his title and office, city staff or city resources to solicit any funding for HumanKind.
Under city code, the waiver can be granted by the council if it meets three requirements: a gift was not given to influence official action; there is no "substantial likelihood" that the gift will influence official action; and the granting of the waiver "will not be detrimental to the interests of the city."
Councilman Dave Buhler, who recently lost the mayoral election to succeed Anderson, said he doesn't believe Anderson's request meets the latter requirement, saying the mayor's soliciting money for non-city business, even on his own time, may fall short of the high ethical standard of the office.
"If you're out raising money, I think that's a line I don't feel comfortable saying OK to," said Buhler, who has clashed with Anderson several times over the past eight years.
Nancy Saxton, another sometime-adversary of the mayor, said she will vote against it, and Carlton Christensen said he was undecided.Council members Soren Simonsen, Eric Jergensen, Jill Remington Love and Van Turner said they would approve the mayor's request.
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