Urgent Action Required – IG and Ethics Ordinances
Help is needed to prevent a last minute attempt to weaken the Office of Inspector General.
Please attend the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners meeting:
When: Tuesday May 3rd
Time: 2:30pm (arrive prior to that time and submit a card if you wish to speak or have your card read into the record)
Agenda Items: 4G1 (IG), 4H1 (Commission on Ethics), 4H2 (Code of Ethics)*
Where: County Commission Chambers – 6th floor, 301 N Olive, West Palm Beach FL
The Palm Beach County League of Cities has not given up on the municipalities’ attempts to thwart the scope and independence of the Inspector General. The League is once again raising issues that were the topics of heated debate during the entire 3-month ordinance drafting period. Some of their issues:
– They still insist that definitions be inserted for Fraud, Waste, Abuse, Misconduct and Mismanagement
– They raise concerns about the ability of the IG to have unfettered access to records and the IG’s ability to subpoena
– They disagree with the procedures for filing complaints again the IG
– They are unhappy with the funding for the IG – larger cities are concerned that they will not ‘get their money’s worth”. They also feel that the funding requirement is an unfunded mandate.
– They also want to make additional changes to the Ethics Ordinances
– They want to delay implementation of all three ordinances until October 1 – which is the next fiscal year (2012).
All of the issues, save the last, were topics of endless debate for the last 3 months. The drafting committee members voted on each section of each ordinance. The League of Cities had equal membership with the County in the drafting of the ordinances.
Points you should consider making (if you speak, submit a card to be read into the record, or in an email):
1. The opposition to adding definitions to the IG ordinance received a final 5:2 vote by the drafting committee. The national Association of Inspectors General weighed in on the subject and said definitions would “have the unintended consequences of restricting the office and hampering its effectiveness”. We want an independent Inspector General.
2. The ordinance drafting committees worked for over 3 months on agreeing to the changes in the ordinances. Do not over-ride the hours the committee spent debating and voting on all of these topics, just because a couple of the members were not successful in making their case to the committee. Please approve on preliminary reading and advertise for public hearing on May 17th the 3 ordinances as presented by ordinance drafting committees.
3. The majority of voters in each of the 38 municipalities voted for the ordinances to apply to their city. The funding requirement was in the ordinance voted for and states “shall be funded at a minimum in an amount equal to one quarter of one percent of contracts of the county, and all other governmental entities subject to the authority of the inspector general”. The ordinance does not specify how the entities will pay the fee – the cities have the choice, should they so vote, to add a .25% fee to all of their contracts.
4. Delaying the implementation until October 1 is unacceptable. There are complaints awaiting action by both the Commission on Ethics and the Inspector General that cannot be dealt with until the ordinances are adopted.
If you are unable to attend the meeting, please send an email to the commissioners making similar points at:
*The Agenda for the meeting can be found here.