Great Progress on Ethics Reform
This morning, the Palm Beach County Commission gave preliminary approval to the ordinances that will create the Commission on Ethics and the Inspector General. The final vote is scheduled for 12/15.
Over the last month, the ordinances had been revised somewhat, taking the County Commission out of the loop on hiring and re-appointing the Inspector General, but they were still able to fire the IG with a 5 of 7 vote.
After a concerted effort by members of the South Florida 9-12 Project, South Florida Tea Party, and other groups, a specific proposal was created to change key parts of the documents, and requiring the Commission on Ethics to concur with the BCC in order to remove the Inspector General. The proposal also involves some changes to the basic funding approach that extends the 0.25% fee on contracts to all agencies in the IG’s future jurisdiction.
Commissioners Marcus, Vanna, Taylor, and Santamaria were apprised of the proposal prior to the meeting, and a very clear motion to include these items was made by Commissioner Marcus that was adopted by a 7-0 vote.
Much of the credit is given to Dennis Lipp, Vice Mayor of Loxahatchee Grove and a member of South Florida 9-12, who spent many hours working with the County Attorney and staff and visiting the commissioners.
A factor in the outcome must surely be the almost 3000 petition signatures that were collected from all sources, enough people to fill the commission hearing room 20 times over. Thank you to all who signed their name for restoring trust in government.
Many from our ad-hoc coalition spoke at the meeting, including Dennis Lipp, Fred and Iris Scheibl, Meg Shannon, Shannon Armstrong, Victoria Thiel, Terry Philpot, Ed Fulop, Jason Shields, Teresa Harrington, Dean Taffel, and David Wood.