Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The cost of ethics, well worth it.

$7000 to investigate 3 possible ethics violations. This is what I am hearing our mayor thinks is a problem. Yup, me too. But, that is because I believe the claims were bogus; indeed they did not hold up. I think that the lawyer who looked them over should have thrown them out in about a half hour. But he is new to the code; the code is new to the commissioners and the citizens. Some breaking in is to be expected. Like new shoes. I guess he had to interview some people and check the facts. I don’t know why he didn’t just call JBs and ask if young Noland worked there and in one phone call put an end to that problem, but that will come in the future.

I think it will get much simpler as everyone gets more familiar with the code. Because of these complaints, the committee was toying with putting some language in about preventing frivolous claims. But, these were not frivolous; they were seen as serious by a resident. That they were not in violation was something she didn’t know. So I hope the committee will not get tangled up in that issue.

There is a cost connected with an ethics code, but a far greater cost if we don’t have one. All you have to do is pick up a recent paper to read about another elected official getting indicted. If, the whole time they were in office they were aware of a standard of conduct that was being strictly enforced, and not just given a wink and a nod, I believe we would have far fewer straying off the path.

If Deerfield Beach had an institutionalized culture of honesty with teeth in the violations, I don’t believe Capellini would be headed for trial on February 8th. You cannot legislate honesty, but you can set the bar so high that the morally unethical will hesitate to transgress due to fear of reprisal. THAT’S WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT!