Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Mayoral Q&A: Ethics

Mayoral Q&A
Philadelphia voters will go to the polls to select the major-party candidates for mayor May 19. With that in mind, the Inquirer Editorial Board posed seven questions on the issues that will face the city’s next mayor. Responses from candidates — except for Milton Street, whose campaign did not respond to invitations to participate — will be published daily through Friday, with the final one next Sunday.
Ethics
Would you support a charter change to make permanent the Office of Inspector General, with powers over executive and legislative branches of city government? Why or why not?
Click on each candidate to see what they have to say.
Tap on each candidate to see what they have to say.
Lynne Abraham
Melissa Murray Bailey
Nelson Diaz
James Kenney
Doug Oliver
Anthony Williams
Lynne abraham
Whether Philadelphia has an inspector general should not hinge upon whether the next mayor issues an executive order.
“I firmly believe that it is time for the Inspector General’s Office, first established under the Goode administration, to have permanent, independent status.
Whether Philadelphia has an inspector general should not hinge upon whether the next mayor issues an executive order. Once elected, I will reauthorize the current executive order for the inspector general and aggressively advocate for the office to be a fixture in our government.
Whether the Office of Inspector General should be part of the City Charter should be evaluated by a commission that would consider the charter as a whole, rather than what we have now: random piecemeal amendments proposed by City Council.”
For more information, visit lynneabraham.com.
James kenney
As mayor, I will continue to work with City Council to ensure that this office, as well as the chief integrity officer, become enduring and independent components of city government.
“Yes, I am fully in favor of making the Office of Inspector General a permanent part of our city government.
Inspector General Amy Kurland and her office have done an invaluable job, saving our taxpayers and city government more than $44 million since 2008, and removing roughly 200 associated employees through termination or forced resignation.
Although signing an executive order to ensure the continuation of the Office of Inspector General is among my very top priorities after taking office in January, I believe it is crucial that the future of this office is not determined solely by the whims of the mayor.
While in City Council, I was the prime sponsor of legislation that would codify an independent Office of Inspector General in the Home Rule Charter. As mayor, I will continue to work with City Council to ensure that this office, as well as the chief integrity officer, become enduring and independent components of city government.”
For more information, visit www.kenney2015.com.
anthony williams
I want Philadelphia to be the nation’s leader in transparency and ethical government because it is a strategic asset that enhances public trust, citizen engagement, and economic growth.
“As mayor, I will reauthorize both the chief integrity officer and inspector general positions via executive order, and will forcefully advocate for a charter amendment to make the inspector general position permanent. This is necessary because transparency, ethics, and integrity are not just words, but values to be harnessed as strategic assets by the next mayor.
When I announced my candidacy for mayor, I talked about changing how Philadelphia does business. Residents, entrepreneurs, and investors should have confidence in the city’s ability to improve our quality of life, create jobs, and attract investment without concerns about ethical misconduct of its employees and elected officials. That’s why, among other policies, I’ll push to ban elected officials and city employees from outside employment with firms that have city contracts.
I want Philadelphia to be the nation’s leader in transparency and ethical government because it is a strategic asset that enhances public trust, citizen engagement, and economic growth.
Changing the way Philadelphia does business requires an independent leader and thinker, a mayor that cannot be bought or rented by anyone. That’s the leadership I’ll offer as mayor of Philadelphia.”
For more information, visit www.anthonyhwilliams.com.
doug oliver
“I believe that accountability is important and an independent inspector general can assist in ensuring that there is accountability in city government affairs.
As mayor, I will advocate for an amendment to create an independent inspector general with jurisdiction over all of city government.”
For more information, visit dougoliver2015.com.
nelson diaz
I'd pursue other avenues to strengthen our ethics laws because enforcement is only as effective as the laws on the books allow it to be.
“Philadelphia needs stronger ethics enforcement. The Office of Inspector General, along with the chief integrity officer, has made good progress in pushing our government to be more functional and ethical.
However, there’s still clearly more work to be done. We can’t be satisfied with our progress as long as some departments are still dysfunctional and as long as the taint of corruption is still attached to many government services. I applaud Mayor Nutter for his efforts in this area, and think we need to build on that legacy so that every Philadelphian has absolute confidence in city government.
I would go further than simply making the current office permanent. Philadelphia has a number of ethics enforcement bodies, many of which have similar missions and mandates. I would seek to combine all of their functions into a single, charter-defined “ethics czar” position with broader authority over all branches of city government. That would likely provide more effective and efficient oversight than we have today.
In my time in government, I have learned that empowering smart people and holding them accountable is the best way to get results, and I would take that approach to ethics enforcement.
I'd pursue other avenues to strengthen our ethics laws because enforcement is only as effective as the laws on the books allow it to be. Having public servants making tens of thousands of dollars a year in outside income from government contractors lessens public trust in government; I’d ban the practice, crack down on nepotism and patronage, expand disclosure requirements, and strengthen whistleblower protections for city employees.
In the post-Citizens United world, I’d also establish public campaign finance with matching funds for low-dollar donors to counteract the dark money that’s flooding this election and threatening the integrity of our democracy.”
For more information, visit NelsonDiazforMayor.com.
melissa murray bailey
I would use my position to make sure there was transparency at all levels of government.
“Mayor Nutter has done great work in moving the city forward in ethics and transparency. As mayor, I wouldn’t just continue that work, but push the envelope even further.
I fully support a permanent inspector general, would keep the current executive order in place, and would advocate for an amendment making it a permanent office with jurisdiction over all offices and departments of the city, not just the executive and legislative branches.
I would fight to make sure the inspector general had reach into the offices of sheriff, district attorney, controller, and register of wills. I would appoint an Inspector General as soon as I was elected. No citizen should ever question the honesty and ethics of his or her government, and this step would help in making that happen.
Even with the ethics gains that have been made under Nutter, many Philadelphians still believe our city’s government is a rigged game of backroom deals, riddled with theft and inappropriate activity. Too many city officials have been found guilty of inappropriate behavior.
I would use my position to make sure there was transparency at all levels of government. Should the comptroller want to audit parks and recreations organizations before increasing their budget allocation, I would be supportive of that.
I would also push for initiatives like an open government checkbook that make publicly available the spending of city departments. And if the powers of the office limit my ability to affect the necessary changes, I would use the bully pulpit and the media to let Philadelphians know what is going on.
I would make sure that City Hall is doing everything it can to be a good steward of taxpayers’ dollars and efficiently delivering the services they expect.”
For more information, visit www.mmb2015.com.