Poor attendance at city ethics seminar - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Poor attendance at city ethics seminar

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Susan Willeke, from the Ohio Ethics Commission Susan Willeke, from the Ohio Ethics Commission
TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

The Ohio Ethics Commission led a seminar in Toledo Monday for elected officials and city employees.

The commission travels around the state, giving about 200 speeches each year, to educate people on state ethics laws.

Only eight people attended the seminar led by Susan Willeke, education and communications manager for the Ohio Ethics Commission.

City councilmen Tom Waniewski and George Sarantou were the only council members present, along with Clerk Gerry Dendinger and support staff.

"It's important for us to keep the perspective that we are acting in the public's interest, not in our own self-interest," Councilman Waniewski said.

He also said he was disappointed in the attendance.

"You know, it's not an indictment on anyone else," he said. "I don't know what their schedules were…[But] by them not coming to something like this, if the excuse is, ‘Oh, I know everything,' then it's the wrong reason not to come."

Willeke wondered if the rainy weather played a role in the attendance, but said those absent missed a chance to learn about potential conflicts of interest and nepotism.

"It's not mandated that anyone attend, but we think the more information that's out there, the better job we can do in guiding people," she said. "I think taxpayers have the right to expect that government is operating without anyone's personal bias entering into it, and I think education is part of that."

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