Saying he wants to continue reforms he initiated in City Council, mayoral candidate Michael Nutter yesterday proposed random audits of public officials and other measures as part of a plan for ethics and accountability in government.
"Corruption in Philadelphia must become a thing of the past," Nutter said. "I'm the only person running for mayor who's actually implemented, supported and proposed and put in place ethics reform in Philadelphia or anywhere else."
In his last Council term, Nutter introduced and pushed through Council a series of bills and home-rule charter amendments setting contribution limits and disclosure requirements for firms seeking city contracts. He also successfully pushed bills creating a stronger Ethics Board and requiring a new ethics code.
Nutter said as mayor he would seek legislation requiring occasional random audits of elected and high-level appointed officials.
"The [city] Revenue Department conducts random audits of business people and their taxes on a regular basis," Nutter said. "Elected officials and high appointed officials should be held to the same standard, to be sure all their financial affairs are in order, that they're not engaged in potentially corrupt activity."
Nutter said the audits would be conducted by the city Ethics Board and would be subject to controls to protect the rights and privacy of the officials being audited.
Nutter said he would also seek to require public disclosure of agreements between community groups and developers seeking zoning or other approvals for their projects.
Nutter said such deals sometimes involve monetary payments and other conditions that are never revealed.
"Never again should we have secret agreements being made where the public has no idea what has happened," Nutter said.