Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Now's The Time to Apply for the Ethics Commission - Day 72 of the Jackson County Ethics Blackout

As of a week ago today, only two applications for the Jackson County Ethics Commission were under consideration by the Selection Committee. The blame for the lackluster turnout rests squarely on the shoulders of the anti-Ethical Jackson County legislature, which has done everything possible to make clear that the new members will face a fight if they dare to do their duty and follow the Charter.

Under the Jackson County Home Rule Charter, the Ethics Commission is directed to investigate allegations of ethics violations against the legislators. The legislators have attempted to excuse themselves from that Charter-directed oversight through an ordinance. The situation is a time bomb, and any informed individual who applies to the Commission knows that he or she is risking a metaphorical knife fight against an unscrupulous legislature. The legislature has made clear that any attempt by the Ethics Commission to do its duty under the Charter will be met with attacks, lies and probably litigation.

Do it anyhow.

Go to the Ethics Commission Selection Committee's website and fill out the application. For your effort, you will receive no money, no fame, and little, if any, official thanks. You will be expected to attend meetings, pay your own parking, and be scrutinized by those who want you to fail. If you do your work ethically and diligently, nobody will name a golf course after you.

Do it anyhow.

We need good, honest people to do the dirty work of policing Jackson County ethics. It's thankless but important work. If good people don't apply, the positions will be filled by insiders and stooges. We can't have that, not while millions of dollars are being spent by a committee where the majority has a rap sheet. Not while the County Legislature is usurping the naming rights to public facilities. Not while the Legislature is using an ordinance to defy the Home Rule Charter.

Public service is calling good people to take the challenge. Please do it. Fill out the application and help return ethics to Jackson County.

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