Sunday, January 14, 2007
Friday, January 05, 2007
I strongly support the proposals of the Committee of Seventy’s ETHICS AGENDA. I am proud to be the only candidate running for Mayor who has achieved any concrete ethics reform in Philadelphia. My public policy record on ethics reform is unmatched by any other candidate or potential candidate for Mayor. Every Mayoral candidate should post on this site their track record on ethics reform based on their experience in the public and/or private sectors. I plan to release additional proposals for continued ethics reform later this month. In the meantime, please read my track record on ethics reform as a policy and legislative issue in Philadelphia.
Independent Ethics Board
In September 2004, I introduced legislation providing for the first time in City history a Charter created Ethics Board. To insure the integrity of this Board, I pushed for a strong, independent entity with adjudicatory and enforcement powers, and guaranteed funding and staff to carry out its mission. The Ethics Board was overwhelmingly approved by the voters in May 2006. Five members were sworn in as the City’s first independent Board of Ethics on November 27, 2006.
Revised City Ethics Code
I made changes to the City's Ethics Code which now mandates regular ethics training and education for all City officers and employees, the issuance of advisory opinions, the adjudication of ethics violations, and the imposition of civil fines. These measures were adopted by City Council in December 2005.
No-Bid (Professional Services) Contract Reform and Contribution Limits
I wrote legislation, approved in June 2005, which provides for an open and transparent process for no-bid contracts, limits campaign contributions to $5000 for individuals and $20,000 for businesses, and requires mandatory disclosure of campaign contributions before the award of a no-bid contract and during the contract period. These reforms were Charter amendments and required voter approval before taking effect. In November 2005, 87% of the voters said “yes” to the ballot question calling for these reforms. This was the largest winning margin ever recorded for a ballot question in Philadelphia. The new no-bid contract procedures took effect on February 1, 2006.
Limits on Political Contributions by Contractors
Another important reform I proposed, approved in December 2005, prohibits persons and businesses from receiving City financial assistance if they have made campaign contributions in excess of the prescribed limits − $5000 for individuals and $20,000 for businesses. In addition, individuals or businesses awarded City financial assistance must agree not to make any campaign contributions which exceed the local limits for five years after receipt of the financial assistance. This ordinance took effect on July 1, 2006.
Campaign Finance Reports on City's Website
This new measure, approved December 2005, requires candidates for City offices to file their campaign reports with the City's Records Department. In addition to a hard copy, the reports are to be electronically filed, and the Records Department, working with the Ethics Board, is directed to post the campaign reports on the City's website no later than five business days after receipt of the information. The Records Department has implemented this new law and campaign reports are now available on-line.
There is much common ground between these achievements and the Committee of Seventy’s Ethics Agenda. I look forward to working with Seventy and to continuing the hard but important work of achieving real change in government ethics in the City of Philadelphia.
Posted by JAF at 1/05/2007
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