Palm Beach County Ethics Awareness Day – November 18th

The Palm Beach County Commission has declared November 18th Ethics Awareness Day in order to recognize the long way that the county has come since State Attorney McAuliffe presented his first Grand Jury report in the spring of 2009 on “Corruption County”. The Board of County Commissioners (BCC) decided to adopt many of the proposals in the report in July 2009. Later that year – in December, the Commissioners adopted three ordinances – Code of Ethics, Commission on Ethics and Inspector General. See this opinion piece by Mike Jones of the Economic Council on Ethics Awareness Day.

Many of our newer members may not know that South Florida 912 was involved starting in mid-2009 and took a strong stand on the wording of the Ordinances to strive for the independence of the Inspector General. While we were not a part of the Ethics Initiative coalition of Leadership Palm Beach, we informed our members and those of other grassroots group about the ordinances, had a petition drive striving for a 100% Independent Inspector General and spoke at the Commission meetings – many for the first time. After the Commissioners adopted the Ordinances, one of our members served on the Implementation Advisory Committee that worked with the administration through the appointment of the Ethics Commission and the hiring of both the Executive Director of the Ethics Commission and the Inspector General.

When the Ordinances were placed on the ballot for November 2010 – South Florida 912 continued to be active in publicizing the importance of a Yes vote on the topic. And as the Ordinances were re-written to include municipalities during the spring of 2011 – many members spoke out at the drafting meetings and at the BCC Meetings to fight what we perceived as weakening of the role of the Inspector General.  Just do a search on Inspector General or Ethics on our website and you’ll see how many posts and calls to action we’ve had.

So – pat yourselves on the back. On this issue – South Florida 912, working with other groups, made a big difference!

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