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ICMA Ethics Director Clarifies Her Position on Burris

In a written letter, the ethics director for the International City/County Managers’ Association clarified a conversation she had with a member of Springfield citizens’ group over an email from Springfield City Manager Greg Burris. KSMU's Jennifer Moore reports.

The ICMA staffer says she did not draw conclusions about the appropriateness of Burris’ actions.

Burris has maintained he did nothing wrong.

A citizens’ group recently called for Burris to resign, claiming he had inappropriately inserted himself into political activity by forwarding an email he received to the president of the Firefighter’s Union. The email detailed two council candidates’ thoughts on controversial benefits within the Police and Fire Pension Plan.

The citizens' group asserted that the ICMA’s ethics director was “astounded” that any manager would become involved in a city election in that way.

But in a letter to the city Monday, ICMA’s ethics director, Maratha Perego said:

“Statements that I ‘was astounded (or shocked) that any Manager would insert himself into an election as overtly and unethically as Mr. Burris has done,’ [or] thought the matter was worthy of immediate investigation and/or that the city manager had no legitimate reason for communicating with the union leadership are entirely inaccurate.”

The ICMA guidelines are just that—guidelines and advice to city and county managers—and are not legally binding.

Springfield City Attorney Dan Wichmer says he has reviewed the matter and finds no basis for the claim of a violation of City Code or City Charter.

For KSMU News, I'm Jennifer Moore.