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California City Seeks Lifeline By Hiring Top Government Ethics Attorneys

Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011


In an attempt to keep its status as a city, the southern California municipality of Vernon has brought in top lawyers to oversee an ethics investigation.
Former state attorney general John Van de Kamp will work along with Robert Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies who once served as general counsel to the California Fair Political Practices Commission. The review of Vernon’s government is to include a specific look at ethics, conflict of interest, and open government issues.
In the wake of several criminal investigations and indictments, an assembly bill has been introduced to disincorporate the city. Although the city has only 100 residents, it is home to some 1,800 businesses, and city administrator Mark Whitworth says “If you close the doors on the opportunities here, business are going to move out of the state or shut down altogether. We need to resolve this, and we need to move forward. If there are real issues, let’s address them.”
While the probe in underway, Vernon continues to work with lawyers and lobbyists to defeat the legislation and a possible attempt by Los Angeles to have the industrial center made a part of Los Angeles County.


Tags: Center for Governmental Studies, City of Vernon, ethics reform, ethics violations, John Van de Kamp, Robert M. Stern

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