Barnhart blasts Warren on Uber job fair, calls for ethics reform

In a statement Monday, Mayoral candidate Rachel Barnhart called for major changes to the city's ethics code, citing issues with a job fair for prospective Uber drivers that took place last month at city hall.

Barnhart's issue is with Mayor Warren's former chief of staff, Jeremy Cooney, working for a consulting firm that represents Uber in their campaign to bring the ride-sharing service to upstate New York.

“Lovely Warren’s inappropriate relationship with Uber exposed the need for big changes. We must do everything we can to preserve integrity and prevent conflicts of interest in city government,” Barnhart said in a statement.

In that same statement, Barnhart also laid out her plan for ethics reform in the city:

1. The Board of Ethics will accept and consider complaints from private citizens.
2. Anyone who violates the Code of Ethics will be subject to a fine, and possible disciplinary action.
3. The Board of Ethics will employ outside counsel.
4. The city will impose a one-year ban on any former employees contacting the city on behalf of new employer.
5. No city employee can serve on the committees of political parties.
6. No city employee can make campaign contributions to the mayor or members of city council.
7. No city vendor can make campaign contributions to the mayor or members of city council. No one with business before the city can make campaign contributions to the mayor or members of city council.

Barnhart also requested that the Board of Ethics to do the following during its consideration of her complaint regarding Mayor Warren’s relationship with Uber:

1. Subpoena all communications between city staff, Mercury Public Affairs and Uber.
2. Ask Brian Curran to recuse himself from the case, if he was consulted prior to the Uber event at City Hall.
3. Conduct its meeting entirely in public.
4. Delay the meeting until after July campaign finance reports have been filed.
5. Request all relevant witnesses, including Warren and Jeremy Cooney, to appear.

"Warren used the event to promote her fictitious job creation efforts. Even worse, the entire thing was coordinated by Warren’s former chief of staff, who is now working as an unregistered lobbyist for Uber,” Barnhart said. “Warren allowed all this to happen, despite the fact Uber is a troubled company, known for mistreating workers. The city has a responsibility to monitor Uber’s conduct. We need strong rules in place to ensure the interests of citizens come before corporations and the mayor’s self-promotion.”

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