A Mayor Rahm Emanuel-appointed group today recommended a series of changes to the city’s ethic ordinance that would add whistleblower protection, cut the gift ban in half, and forbid taking fees for public speaking appearances.
Absent from the list of 34 proposals was extending the power of the city’s inspector general to investigate aldermen, the Chicago Park District and the Public Buildings Commission. During his campaign for mayor, Emanuel backed the idea of expanding the watchdog office's authority.
“I have plenty of time to deal with all aspects and I will get to everything I have. As we get up to the one-year, I keep a pretty good log of all the pledges I made and the execution,” Emanuel said today at a news conference. “We have this to enact, which we will and then the next set.”
The four-member task force plans to continue its work and come back with a second list of recommendations in late July. Part two is expected to focus on lobbying at City Hall and the “relationship between and key responsibilities of Chicago’s ethics institutions,” said Cindy Canary, who chaired the panel.
Among the first round of changes are adding a “reverse revolving door” policy that would aim to prevent city employees from working on any matter that involves their former employer for two years; a whistle blower protection for reporting misconduct; and creating a limit of $50 a year for gifts city employees can accept from an individual source.
“Ethics laws cannot prevent all wrongdoing, but a strong ordinance, which is reinforced by a culture that values ethics, transparency, education and training will help to minimize ethical lapses,” Canary said.
Emanuel said he will introduce the recommended changes at the City Council meeting in June.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun