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Good Reasons To Have An Ethics Board

Monday, Oct. 15, 2012

“The reason an ethics board is so important is that it helps keep city officials honest, not just with city residents but with themselves. It can be easy for a city employee or elected official to internally justify an action that others might consider a conflict of interest or stepping over an ethical line.”

This observation, made in an editorial in the The Citizen, an Auburn, New York newspaper, is one of the best descriptions of the purpose of an ethics board. The comments were written to encourage the Auburn City Council to move swiftly to appoint members to its ethics board. According to the paper, the council embraced restructuring the board, which had been dormant since the 1990s. That vote was taken in January, but as the editorial points out, no action has been taken since then.

“This board could help provide guidance to city officials before they act. And of course when evidence surfaces that an ethical violation has taken place, having this board available to look into it would be a vital resource.”

Good advice for Auburn, and for any other jurisdiction with a languishing ethics board.

Tags: ethics commissions

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