Ethics Commission mixes past and present
With more than half of the Ethics Commission in transition because of term limits, former, departing and current members of the panel gathered recently to say hello and goodbye.
Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight Director Carla Miller organized the gathering that offered both welcomes and farewells.
Five commission members had reached their term limits and five candidates have been chosen using a formula recently crafted by the commission and approved by City Council.
“This party was created to celebrate where we are as a commission and to honor three generations of Ethics Commissioners,” said Miller.
Past commission Chairs Gene Filbert and Kirby Oberdorfer, Vice Chair Helen Ludwig and members Mary Swart and Rhonda Peoples-Waters have stepped down from the commission.
Filbert, Oberdorfer and Swart have reached term limits and Ludwig and Peoples-Waters voluntarily resigned.
Commission members are allowed to serve two three-year terms, unless they are appointed to finish an unexpired term, which would allow for more than six years of service.
Five new members await Council approval.
Ywana Allen and Tom Paul were nominated by the Ethics Commission. Cynthia Irvin is Chief Judge Donald Moran’s appointee. Larry Pritchard is the choice of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and the Public Defender’s office chose Joe Jacquot.
Allen is an assistant principal in the Duval County Public School System. Paul is vice president of internal audit with Regency Centers, where he created the company’s compliance program and now manages it.
Irvin is a professor of professional skills at Florida Coastal School of Law. Pritchard is an attorney. Jacquot is a government affairs senior vice president and corporate counsel for Lender Processing Services.
The commission has also welcomed volunteer Mike Boyle who will work with Miller in the Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight. He is a retired FBI agent and former Nassau County commissioner.
Michael Naughton was chair of the commission in 1992.
“Once we started promoting ethics in the city, we experienced problems we didn’t expect,” he said.
“We were told, ‘you’re an ethics commission in name only.’ And that we didn’t have any authority. Once people don’t believe in the truth we are all held to, there is a loss of accountability,” Naughton said.
“When people think they don’t have to answer for their behavior, that’s dangerous.”