Palm Beach County ethics panel set for March 28

Carey
Carey
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Ardila-Morgan
Bannon
Bannon
Aronberg
Aronberg

What’s the latest on Palm Beach County’s efforts to maintain ethics among elected officials?

A panel discussion is set for 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, March 28, at the Public Safety Conference Center, Room PSD 108, at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth.

The keynote speaker is Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg.

The other panelists:

Mark Bannon, executive director of the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics

Kim Ardila-Morgan, director of the Center for Applied Ethics at Palm Beach State College

John Carey, Palm Beach County’s Inspector General.

The event is free and open to the public. For more call 561-868-3545.

March is “Ethics Awareness Month” in Palm Beach County.

 

Palm Beach County ethics panel won’t weigh in on public records bill

The Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics Thursday opted to neither agree or disagree with other ethics commissions in Florida who oppose proposed new limits on public records requests. Legislation would let judges decide whether to award attorney fees in lawsuits seeking public ethics logorecords.

The law now requires judges to order a government to pay court costs and attorney fees if they find the government unlawfully refused access to a public record.

It stems from the town of Gulf Stream’s costly clash with millionaire resident Martin O’Boyle. Proponents say people use public records laws to extort legal fees. Opponents say they fear any limits on public records rights.

Executive director Mark Bannon noted Gulf Stream comes under the ethics panel’s jurisdiction, and said the Palm Beach County League of Cities has backed the legislation limiting the legal fees.

Also Thursday, the panel reappointed Chair Michael Kridel and Vice Chair Clevis Headley to additional 2-year posts. And ethics panel members Sarah Shullman and Michael Loffredo, both appointed after members resigned, were sworn in for additional 4-year terms on the board.

The ethics panel also introduced a new logo that shows the outline of Palm Beach County with the phrase “Honesty-Integrity-Character.””

 

Ethics panel: Sheriff, Clerk, others not subject to our scrutiny

Bannon
Bannon
Henson
Henson

Elected constitutional officers such as Clerk Sharon Bock and Sheriff Ric Bradshaw aren’t subject to the scrutiny of the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics in their roles as members of the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission, because they don’t come under the jurisdiction of the ethics panel at all, its executive director says.

Bradshaw and Bock are mandatory members, but they have missed most meetings. They cite their busy schedules and the fact that their membership on the commission creates potential conflicts with Florida’s Government in the Sunshine Law.

Bradshaw also has said attending opens his constitutionally independent office to the scrutiny of the county Inspector General and the ethics commission.

Bradshaw and Bock are among 11 members of the panel who hold county or state posts, plus four federal representatives, who are not subject at all to the ethics commission, executive director Mark Bannon wrote justice commission’s new executive director Kristina Henson.

Bock
Bock

 

The memo, responding to Henson’s request for an advisory opinion, is in the agenda package for Thursday’s ethics commission meeting. It’s a draft, the wording

Bradshaw
Bradshaw

of which is expected to be approved without discussion in the panel’s “consent agenda.”

 

“Those persons who are required by ordinance to be a member of an advisory board of commission,” Bannon wrote, “do not meet the Code’s definition of an official” for the ethic’s commission’s purposes. He said that’s because they’re not appointed by the county commission.

Bannon said two members of law enforcement associations plus the head of the county’s Legislative Delegation might already be subject to the ethics panel by virtue of their regular jobs.

Palm Beach Post analysis published Dec. 7 found that six members of the Criminal Justice Commission, including County Clerk Sharon Bock and Sheriff Rick Bradshaw, have missed about 87 percent of the meetings since 2007.