Excerpt

The following ran in the Feb. 10, 2012, issue of the Dallas Morning News. Rita Kirk, director of SMU's Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, provided expertise for this story.

Dallas city officials acknowledge retirement party funds sought inappropriately

 

February 23, 2012

By Steve Thompson

At first glance, the retirement announcement posted inside Dallas City Hall on Friday morning looked like others that frequently adorn the bulletin boards there.

It heralded a coming retirement party for Rebecca Rasor, the city’s managing director of the Trinity River Corridor Project.

But then the flier said this: “Special thanks to our contributing sponsors.” It listed half a dozen companies, including key city contractors on the Trinity River project.

By Friday evening, after questions from The Dallas Morning News, the fliers came down and city officials acknowledged that an employee’s solicitation of money for the event from contractors was inappropriate.

One ethics expert characterized the arrangement as a “shakedown.”

“It’s clearly wrong,” said Rita Kirk, who directs the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility at SMU. “There’s no gray area.”...