Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Watered down ethics bill may pass

Or, at the very least, may actually get out of committee. According to a column today by Jill Porter, a watered down version of Michael Nutter's ethics bill looks like it is making its way to a full vote by City Council. Unfortunately, the bill really has lost quite a lot of its bite...

From the article:
Councilman Michael Nutter has agreed to postpone part of his three-piece ethics package to move forward on legislation that would change the way no-bid professional services contracts are awarded, sources said yesterday.

Those contracts, allegedly awarded to insiders in exchange for political contributions, are at the heart of the federal trial that began yesterday - and at the heart of the city's reputation as a cesspool of cronyism and corruption.

...

Nutter has agreed to hold those two parts of his package back, sources said, in the hopes of reviving them later if the pay-to-play legislation is successful.

Some fierce advocates of the package are disappointed and say Nutter got his "ass whupped" by the committee.

The ethics board, which would enforce the rules, is a particularly important piece of the package. But, frankly, if Nutter can get any reform through council at all, it will be a major triumph.

His pay-to-play legislation will require a change in city charter rules to allow council to set policy regarding the awarding of contracts. It will take 12 votes from Council to get the measure on the ballot - and supporters are reasonably confident the votes are there.

If Council moves quickly, the charter change legislation could be on the ballot by May - and the new law in place not long thereafter.
Nepotism today! Nepotism tomorrow! Nepotism forever! Again, I do not care who a member of City Council hires for their personal staff, because it is there staff to see that their needs are best served. But the idea that City Council is shocked (shocked!) that someone would dare take away their ability to infiltrate the rest of City Government with their family members is mildly disturbing, if not unsuprising.

This post is obviously quite intertwined with the one right below it. So, Mr. Stalberg, lets just say that although this is good news, I hope your new and improved organization has something up its sleeve to supplement this bill.

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