Thursday, May 6, 2010

Deerfield Beach Ethics Code Revised, Some Teeth Pulled

Click on image to enlarge.
The Deerfield Beach Commission passed the revised Ethics Code, I was not sure it would pass as both Commissioner Poitier and Mayor Noland were vocally against it and Commissioner Miller voted against it initially. But residents are in favor of our elected officials having an ethics code and came out in numbers when Noland placed the code on the agenda to be repealed. With most elected officials the first priority is to get reelected; I am sure they took that into consideration. It really doesn’t look classy to be against ethics.

A little bit into the meeting on Tuesday, after voting yes on the ethics code, we learn that Sylvia called a city employee and told them to go to her business center and take pictures of the cans of paint in the closet. Uh-uh, Sylvia. Commissioners set policy, they DO NOT have employees at their beck and call for errands and photography. Commissioners are explicitly forbidden by the Deerfield Beach Charter from having city employees take their orders. That is what we pay the City Manager for, to carry out policies set by the commission. We have been through this with Noland, and now Sylvia who seemed to think it was her due. (Someone countermanded the order and the pictures did not get taken.)

Why is it so easy for a commissioner to think they run the city and start asking employees to do their bidding? Yup, power corrupts; hence the charter provision.

Back to the ethics code and the change in the gifts provision from accepting $0 to allowing $50 gifts (Some dodads provisions could have been added). Why should a commissioner, who is paid a salary for doing a job, receive ANYTHING for free because he or she is a commissioner?

An elected official may accept anything if it is also made available to the general public, but when it is offered only to the official, even with a $50 per giver per year limit, there is no doubt it is done to curry favor, and those items, however small, add up over time, and can erode impartial thinking.

No comments:

Post a Comment