Commissioners give preliminary OK to ethics reforms, inspector generalby George Bennett | December 1st, 2009
The scandal-rocked Palm Beach County commission gave preliminary approval today to sweeping ethics reforms, including creation of an independent inspector general’s office to investigate wrongdoing in local government.
After today’s unanimous votes, a final vote on the reforms is slated for Dec. 15.
The actions come after three county commissioners went to federal prison on corruption charges and a grand jury this year noted the county’s reputation as “Corruption County”
In a reflection of the commission’s tarnished reputation, commissioners agreed to have no role in selecting the inspector general and to essentially give an unelected ethics commission final say over any decision to remove the inspector general.
Proposals called for county commissioners to be able to remove the inspector general if five of seven commissioners found specific cause. But after several members of the public criticized the proposal as giving the commission too much power, commissioners agreed that a removal vote will only be valid if a new five-member commission on ethics agrees.
The commission on ethics is to include five members appointed by local police chiefs, minority law groups, the president of Florida Atlantic University, the Florida Institute of CPAs and the Palm Beach County League of Cities.
Tags: Corruption County