Monday, November 03, 2014
Ethics or Business as Usual? By Geniusofdespair
I was there when Lobbyist Dusty Melton wanted the Miami Dade County ethics department to take action against a fellow lobbyist for not being registered. He wrote letters, made presentations, etc. all for naught. They ruled the other lobbyist just made a small blunder.
That is the problem. When people do something wrong, as far as ethics department is concerned they have to do something really really wrong. They follow their rules loosely and try to find the offender any excuse. The Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Ordinance already establishes "minimum" standards of ethical conduct. They don't have to minimize more. In fact I am sure they can increase the standards if they really wanted things to be different. They remain instead, part of the problem. What happens is the commissioners ask for an ethics opinion and they get one, usually favoring what they want to do (that would seem unethical to you and me --- any reasonable person).
One of the parts of the ethics code is "Exploitation of official position." If anyone from the ethics department doesn't think this goes on during fundraising, they are in for a rude awakening. When are they going to start interviewing donors? The Ethics rule: "A person cannot use his or her public position to obtain a special privilege or exemption for him or herself or for others." Everyone giving knows they have a special privilege, like even a small thing like getting an appointment with a commissioner. Most regular people can't get to see their OWN Commissioner, they get to see the aides only. I could go on and on. You all know it is going on...except ethics, they turn a blind eye to most misbehavior. Major overhaul needed!!! Suggestions?
I am fascinated with the concept of "Moral Hazard" because it is exactly what we are doing, not real change:
(Do not hit play all, don't know how that got there)