Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dump the Ethics Commission?

Graphic from the Westside Observer

Below is an excerpt from George Wooding's "Jettison the Ethics Commission" in the Westside Observer:

It’s time to jettison the dysfunctional Ethics Commission, whose annual budgets have cost taxpayers $45 million in General Fund support ($19 million to operate the Ethics Commission and another $25.9 million in Election Campaign Funds that is part of Ethics’ budget).

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s upcoming trial before the Ethics Commission will be more about why the Ethics Commission needs to be eliminated than his fitness to serve as Sheriff.

SF’s Ethics Commission is now on trial. After operating for 18 years and costing just under $19 million in tax dollars over the years (excluding the $25.9 million Campaign Election Fund that Ethics has administered since Fiscal Year ’02–’03), the Ethics Commission has never held a misconduct trial for an elected official, city department head, or manager. It has no trial guidelines and is currently trying to develop trial procedures for Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s case...

The obvious problem with the Ethics Commission is its inherent conflict of interest. The Mayor, Board of Supervisors, City Attorney, District Attorney, and the Controller each get to appoint an Ethics Commissioner. These are the same City officials who determine the Ethics Commission’s budget. Only friends of the powerful need apply for appointment.

How did an Ethics Commission established by the voters to serve citizen interests become an agency that serves the interests of politicians and the politically influential?...

Read the rest here.

Recall that Wooding tried to warn city voters on the real cost of last year's street bond.

The Grand Jury report: San Francisco's Ethics Commission: The Sleeping Watchdog

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