Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

San Jose Sunshine Reform Task Force Update

The Sunshine Reform Task Force of the City of San Jose continues its work in an effort to adopt a meaningful and significant Sunshine Ordinance for America’s 10th largest city. Most recently, the task force has considered ethics reforms proposed by newly elected mayor Chuck Reed and recommended 14 for adoption by the city council.

Established in May 2006, the task force is comprised of a cross section of community representatives. Its purpose is to advise the city council on ways to increase public access to information, enhance neighborhood participation, and ensure government accountability. Judy Nadler, senior fellow in government ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, was appointed by interim City Manager Les White to provide ethics advice to the task force.

Reed was swept into office in the wake of ethics scandals associated with former mayor Ron Gonzales. The “Reed Reforms,” a series of 34 specific recommendations to improve public access, disclosure of city records, and other ethics provisions were a key part of the veteran councilman’s campaign agenda.

Of the 14 reforms referred to city staff for implementation, 10 have been implemented and four are schedule to be completed this spring. The reforms completed include

  • Noticing of council items with expenditures over $1 million
  • Disclosure of information on complaints received through the Fraud and Audit Hotline
  • Public disclosure of councilmember of board/commission claiming a conflict of interest on a vote by filing a conflict of interest declaration with the city attorney and city clerk 24 hours prior to when the item will be heard
  • Disclosure of calendars of the mayor and councilmembers, redacted for personal information.

Among the items in process is the configuration and testing of new technology that will allow the establishment of a single master online calendar.

For more information, visit webite for Office of the City Clerk, San jose.

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