Mayor Nutter has nominated JoAnne A. Epps, dean of the Beasley School of Law at Temple University, to serve on the city's Board of Ethics.

If, as expected, Epps is confirmed Thursday by City Council, the five-member board would officially be composed of lawyers.

Epps would replace the Rev. C. Kevin Gillespie, whose five-year term ends this month.

Her nomination was a complete surprise, she said Wednesday.

She would join the board at a busy time, as it is likely to have some oversight of and opinions about next year's elections, including the races for mayor, City Council, and city commissioner.

"I think it's important for citizens to have faith in government," said Epps, who served on the board of the government watchdog group Committee of Seventy but resigned last month to accept Nutter's nomination. "But I'm not in a position to say what specific issues will come up."

As for having five lawyers on the board, Epps said lawyers by nature must pay attention to ethics and integrity.

Board Chairman Michael Reed on Wednesday thanked Gillespie, president of St. Joseph's University, for his "valuable and dedicated service." Gillespie, in turn, thanked board members and said their work on ethics reform "really gives me a sense of hope."

During Gillespie's tenure, the board passed regulations banning cash gifts to all city employees and elected officials, and, most recently, tightened restrictions on the republication of campaign materials.

Epps has served as Temple's law dean since 2008 and has been teaching law at Temple for nearly 30 years. Before that, she worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia and a deputy city attorney in Los Angeles.

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