Character Counts! in Jacksonville has participated in the process of vetting these City Council Bills. We are actively engaged and seek to foster participation in the conversations and process.
Below you will find the OFFICIAL communications from the COJ Ethics Office as well as the notice of participation.
If you are interested in helping the City of Jacksonville step to a higher Ethical Standard we ask you to educate yourself and become part of the dialogue and ultimately SOLUTION.
We shall be attending and hope you will too!!
Created by Carla Miller:
ETHICS CHARTER OFFICE
PUBLIC HEARING and COMMENT
CITY COUNCIL MEETING, City Hall
Tues. Feb. 28, 5pm
Please pass on this email!Come to the City Council meeting to make a public comment; or if you can't come in person, send an email in support (send email to Braxton Gillam, Chair of the Ethics Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org --he will forward your email to City Council.)Many citizen groups fought for 2 years to make sure the city has an independent Ethics Office and that ethics was in our Charter. (League of Women Voters, Tea Party, JCCI, Concerned Taxpayers, Character Counts, NAACP, Ethics Commission, Charter Commission and others.)
The Charter amendment passed in November, 2010 and all laws putting it into effect passed in June, 2011. The office was to be up and running Oct. 1, 2011. City Council allocated funding for the office in September which has been frozen. There are 2 bills pending in City Council that will help get the office going:
2012-85; Clay Yarborough and 9 other sponsors: to release the ethics funding so that the new Charter independent ethics office can function; and
2012-10; A bill to confirm the Ethics Commission's nominee, Carla Miller, to be the director of this new office. (She has been working since appointed in December.)
It would help if people who are interested in these bills show up on 2/28 to speak on behalf of the bills. There are 2 times you can speak; 1) in the beginning, 5pm: "Public Comment", time limit --3 minutes; and 2) again at the time for the hearing on the bill (2012-85), right after the Public Comment time (again, 3 minute limit). You can speak one or two times. To speak both times, you would fill out 2 blue comment cards. We will have someone right outside of the City Council chambers with these blue cards for you to fill out. The best time to arrive at City Hall is 4:45pm.
The 2 bills are posted below for your reference.
Bill Type and Number: Ordinance 2012-85
Introducer/Sponsor(s): Council Member Yarborough; Council Members Redman, Schellenberg, Crescimbeni, Lee, Gulliford, Lumb, Boyer, Gaffney and Daniels
Date of Introduction: February 14, 2012
Committee(s) of Reference: R, F
Date of Analysis: February 16, 2012
Type of Action: Appropriation; transfer of temporary hours; Ordinance Code amendment
Bill Summary: The bill appropriates $142,509 from the Office of General Counsel/Ethics Office account to a yet-to-be-determined account to fund the newly created Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight (ECO) and transfers all subaccounts currently allocated to the Office of General Counsel/Ethics Office to the new ECO office. The bill transfers the 2,080 temporary hours from the Ethics Office to the ECO office. It authorizes the Director of the ECO office to approve expenditures from the account upon the approval of the Ethics Commission. The bill amends Ordinance Code Chapter 602 – Jacksonville Ethics Code - in Part 6 – Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight – to remove a reference to the ECO office being administratively housed within the Office of General Counsel and to add a new section requiring the Council Auditor to report incidents that are reasonably believed to be a violation of the City’s Ethics Code in writing to the General Counsel and to the Director of the ECO office. Finally, the bill repeals Part 11 – Ethics Officers - of Chapter 602.
Background Information: In early 2011 the City Council passed an ordinance substantially rewriting the City’s Ethics Code and creating an Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight. The City’s Ethics Officer at the time the ordinance was rewritten continued to serve in that position until her term expired at the end of the term of Mayor John Peyton. When the FY11-12 budget was passed it contained funding for the former Ethics Officer position housed in the General Counsel’s Office which no longer had an employee in that position, but did not appropriate funding for the new ECO office. This bill transfers the funding and hours from the former Ethics Officer position to the Director of ECO position. It also clearly establishes the independence of the ECO office from the Office of General Counsel and authorizes the Ethics Commission and Director of ECO to expend the funds within the ECO budget.
Policy Impact Area: Ethics administration
Fiscal Impact: The bill transfers $142,509 from the Office of General Counsel/Ethics Office account to a yet-to-be-determined account to fund the newly created Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight (ECO).
CITY COUNCIL RESEARCH DIVISION
JEFFREY R. CLEMENTS Chief of Research (904) 630-1377
117 West Duval Street
City Hall, Suite 425
Jacksonville, FL 32202
FAX (904) 630-3403
Introduced by Council Member Yarborough: & Co-Sponsored by CM
Redman, Schellenberg, Crescimbeni, Lee, Gulliford, Lumb, Boyer,
Gaffney & Daniels:
AN ORDINANCE CONCERNING PART 6 (OFFICE OF ETHICS, COMPLIANCE AND OVERSIGHT) OF CHAPTER 602 (JACKSONVILLE ETHICS CODE); APPROPRIATING $142,509.00 FROM OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL / ETHICS OFFICE TO FUND THE OFFICE OF ETHICS, COMPLIANCE AND OVERSIGHT (ECO); PROVIDING FOR THE TRANSFER OF SUBACCOUNTS; TRANSFERRING TEMPORARY HOURS; PROVIDING FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF THE BUDGET OF THE OFFICE OF ETHICS, COMPLIANCE AND OVERSIGHT; AMENDING PART 6 OF CHAPTER 602 TO AMEND SECTION 602.611(B)(1) (OFFICE OF ETHICS, COMPLIANCE AND OVERSIGHT; CREATION) TO REMOVE THE OFFICE OF ETHICS, COMPLIANCE AND OVERSIGHT FROM THE OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL, AND TO CREATE A NEW SECTION 602.624 (REPORTING OF VIOLATIONS BY COUNCIL AUDITOR) (THE FORMER SECTION 602.1106) TO CONTINUE THE COUNCIL AUDITOR’S REPORTING DUTIES; REPEALING PART 11 (ETHICS OFFICERS) OF CHAPTER 602; PROVIDING THAT THE FUNDING IS SUPPLEMENTAL TO THE MAYOR’S EFFORTS TO FURTHER ETHICS EDUCATION, ADMINISTRATION, ENFORCEMENT, AND THE GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS OF CHAPTER 602; PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
WHEREAS, Ordinance 2011-197-E provided for the creation of a new Part 6 (Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight)(ECO) of Chapter 602 (Jacksonville Ethics Code), with associated rights, duties and responsibilities; and
WHEREAS, the 2011-2012 fiscal year budget presented to and approved by the City Council funded the “Ethics Office” instead of the “Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight” (both housed for budgetary purposes within the Office of General Counsel), and it in fact was the intent of the Council in enacting Ordinance 2011-197-E, that the Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight would be funded and operational by October 1, 2011; and
WHEREAS, the Council finds that the provisions of Part 11 (Ethics Officers) of Chapter 602 are redundant to Part 6, and create ambiguities that are best resolved by repealing Part 11; and
WHEREAS, the Council finds that to avoid perceptions of conflicting loyalties, the Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight should be independently identified in the City’s annual budget, and not “housed” in any given department; and
WHEREAS, on January 25, 2012 the City of Jacksonville’s Ethics Commission approved Resolution 2012-01, a copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit 1, which sets forth the Jacksonville Ethics Commission’s unanimous support for the principles of this ordinance; now therefore
BE IT ORDAINED by the Council of the City of Jacksonville:
Section 1. Appropriation. For the 2011-2012 fiscal year, within the City’s budget, there are hereby appropriated the indicated sum(s) from the account(s) listed in subsection (a) to the account(s) listed in subsection (b):
(a) Appropriated from:
Office of General Counsel / Ethics Office
Acct. No. GCEC011 $142,509.00
(b) Appropriated to:
Office of Ethics, Compliance & Oversight
Acct. No. To be determined $142,509.00
The effect and implementation of this appropriation shall be to transfer all subaccounts from Office of General Counsel / Ethics Office, to an independent Office of Ethics, Compliance & Oversight account. All fiscal 2011-2012 expenditures to date shall be recognized and transferred, as well as the remaining balances therein.
Section 2. Purpose. The purpose of the appropriation in Section 1 is to provide fiscal year 2011-2012 funding for the Ethics, Compliance and Oversight Office established in Section 602.611, Ordinance Code.
Section 3. Transfer of Temporary Hours. The 2080 temporary hours authorized for office of General Counsel / Ethics Office are hereby transferred to Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight.
Section 4. Management of the Budget. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Ordinance Code to the contrary, the Director of the Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight (Director) is authorized to approve expenditures within the appropriation set forth in this Ordinance, upon approval of the Ethics Commission. The compensation of the Director, including compensation for services rendered from date of appointment, may be authorized by the Ethics Commission upon approval by the Ethics Commission of the financial terms and conditions of employment of the Director, within the funds budgeted in this ordinance.
Section 5. Part 6, Chapter 602, Ordinance Code, amended. Part 6 (Office of Ethics, Compliance & Oversight) of Chapter 602 (Jacksonville Ethics Code), is amended so as to amend section 602.611(b)(1) (Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight; creation) and to add a new Section 602.624 (Reporting of violations by Council Auditor) (the former Section 602.1106) all to read as follows:
Sec. 602.611. - Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight; Creation.
* * *
(b) The Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight is an independent office which is:
(1) Independently Administratively housed in the Office of General Counsel, but separately budgeted and accounted for; and
(2) Whose executive director is appointed by the Jacksonville Ethics Commission subject to Council confirmation; and
(3) Whose budget is recommended to the Mayor by the Director of the Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight and approved by Council.
* * *
Sec. 602.624. - Reporting of violations by Council Auditor.
The Council Auditor, in addition to the reporting requirements of Section 102.103, Ordinance Code, shall, when he or she has reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of the City's Ethics Code has occurred, report the facts relating to the probable violation in writing to the General Counsel and the City's Director of Ethics, Compliance, and Oversight.
Section 6. Part 11, Chapter 602, Ordinance Code, repealed. Part 11 (Ethics Officers) of Chapter 602 (Jacksonville Ethics Code), a copy of which is on file with the Legislative Services Division, is hereby repealed. The purpose of the repeal is to eliminate any perceived conflicts, redundancies, and ambiguities associated with the interplay of Part 6 (Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight) and Part 11.
Section 7. Ordinance Supplemental. Nothing contained in this ordinance is intended to limit or diminish the authority of the Mayor to utilize available executive branch resources in the furthering of ethics education, administration, enforcement, and in the pursuit of the goals and aspirations of Chapter 602, Ordinance Code.
Section 8. Effective Date. This ordinance shall become effective upon signature by the Mayor or upon becoming effective without the Mayor’s signature.