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PBC ethics commission posts audit info on its website

by Jennifer Sorentrue | April 11th, 2013

The Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics is posting all of the correspondence it receives about the state’s audit of its operations on its county website.

The commission has links to 12 letters, emails and other documents related to state review on its website, palmbeachcountyethics.com. The information is listed under the tab “OPPAGA review.”

The Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, known as OPPAGA, said last month that it had launched a review of the commission’s $500,000 budget, its operating procedures and the methods it uses to enforce the county’s ethics rules. State Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Wellington, asked the Senate president’s office to order the audit.

During a meeting last week, Ethics Commissioner Ronald Harbison alleged that Abruzzo called for the audit because the board did not hire his legislative aide and former boss to serve as its new executive director.

In a letter sent Monday to Ethics Commission Chairman Manuel Farach, Abruzzo said he asked for the audit on Feb. 13. His aide, Philip Massa, did not interview for the commission’s executive director job until March 21.Massa was notified on April 1 that he was not chosen for the position, Abruzzo said in the letter.

In a one-page written response, Farach invited Abruzzo to speak to the ethics board on June 6, and urged the senator to share specific concerns about the commission with its members so they can be immediately addressed.

“I respectfully request that you share with us any specific instance where you believe the commission failed so we can immediately address your concerns,” Farach wrote Wednesday.

Farach said the ethics commission has unanimously endorsed the state audit.

“We are very proud of our record of transparency and placing all facts before the public,” Farach wrote.

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12 Responses to “PBC ethics commission posts audit info on its website”

  1. Del Knapfel Says:

    I applaud the committee for allowing the public to follow this audit. I agree with Commissioner Harbison, the audit appears to be a strong arm tactic by a State Senator. I would suggest Gov Scott have the Florida’s Ethics Committee investigate the motive of Senator Abruzzo.

  2. PBC2013 Says:

    I’m glad this is being looked into. I have herd some weird things about this commission. Is it true that we are the only county that has a commision like this? $500,000??

  3. Nancy H. WPB Says:

    OMG. Sunsentinal please.

  4. colton Says:

    PBC2013,
    So you believe that every “weird thing(s)” that you have ever “herd” (sic)deserves an investigation? Please do share with us what “weird things” you’re talking about. Do you have any evidence or is this just gossip?

    Broward, Clay,Duval, Escambia, Indian River,Lake, Miami-Dade, Orange,Palm Beach, Sarasota,Seminole and St. Johns counties have Ethics Commissions. All counties should. The State of Florida has an Ethics Commission as does each house of the legislature.

    If you would like to educate yourself on the subject,read this report by the LeRoy Connins Institute –
    http://www.integrityflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Integrity_Florida_and_LeRoy-Collins-Institute-Tough-Choices-Florida-Counties-Bridge-the-Ethics-Policy-Gap-11.29.12.pdf

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  6. colton Says:

    Manuel Farach is a class act. He’s handling this perfectly.

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