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Top prosecutor says ethics watchdog needs dedicated money source to be independent

by George Bennett | October 1st, 2009



To be truly independent, a proposed ethics watchdog for Palm Beach County must be assured of an adequate budget through a dedicated money source such as a surcharge on government contracts, State Attorney Michael McAuliffe said today

McAuliffe, who convened a grand jury that recommended an inspector general to combat public corruption after five local elected officials went to federal prison for ethical misdeeds, spoke to the nonpartisan Voters Coalition this afternoon.

McAuliffe did not take a position on competing views of who should hire and fire the inspector general. The Voters Coalition is part of a consortium of business and civic groups that says the watchdog should answer to an independent ethics commission. County administrators have proposed having the inspector chosen by an independent selection committee but subject to final approval by the county commission.

The grand jury recommended modeling the office on the inspector general in Miami-Dade, where a selection committee chooses the inspector but commissioners have a final vote. Miami-Dade also imposes a 0.25 percent charge on government contracts to help finance the inspector’s office.

McAuliffe said he’s optimistic the consortium and commissioners will reach an agreement on inspector-general language to put before voters in November 2010.

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One Response to “Top prosecutor says ethics watchdog needs dedicated money source to be independent”

  1. What a joke this is Says:

    Can’t wait for this new position to become available.When does Henry Handler of Weiss and Handler assume the position?Bet it will be someones lawyer friend somewhere.This place is a crock of BS.Let’s police ourselves just like the Florida Bar does.Let’s void elections while we are at it.One organized crime family after another.It just never ends.

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