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- 2012 - May - 8th -

Ethics Commission wants disclosure for new government bodies

by Joe Wilhelm Jr., Staff Writer

As Mayor Alvin Brown moves forward with his plans for economic development reform, the City’s Ethics Commission wants to make sure members of the new boards and offices he plans to create disclose their financial interests.

The City Council Finance and Rules committees are jointly reviewing Ordinance 2012-212, which replaces the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission with an Office of Economic Development.

The commission voted Monday to recommend to the Council that it add language to the ordinance to clarify who is required to file financial disclosure forms.

“I think there is an opportunity and a need for us as a commission, if we so choose, to recommend some clarification to this,” said James Young, chair of the commission’s legislative subcommittee, which met before Monday’s regular meeting of the Ethics Commission.

“To one, have the Council include who they want to specifically include. If it includes the CEO for reporting and conflict-of-interest purposes, then it should say so, not just all ‘board members,’” Young said.

Young used a section of the ordinance describing the Downtown Investment Authority as an area that could use some clarity.

Section 55.311 states: “All board members shall comply with all the applicable laws, ordinances and regulations, including, but not limited to, the State of Florida Laws on Ethics, as applied to a redevelopment agency under chapter 163, part 3, Florida Statutes, the Sunshine Law, chapter 286, Florida Statutes and the Public Records Act, chapter 119, Florida Statutes.”

Young said he was concerned that the ordinance didn’t cover all the people who would be involved with the new boards and offices.

“The Downtown Investment Authority is supposed to have a chief executive officer. Is that position subject to disclosure?” said Young.

“Under the CRA (community redevelopment area) related provisions, which the DIA will function as, there is a provision that basically says that the officers, commissioners and employees of a CRA are subject to the provisions (of the State of Florida Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees),” said Jason Gabriel, City assistant general counsel.

The commission later agreed to draft a resolution to request the Council amend 2012-212 to require both board members and the CEO of the new Downtown Investment Authority to file financial disclosure forms.

New commission members awaiting Council approval attended the regular meeting, including Ywana Allen, Cynthia Irvin, Joe Jacquot, Tom Paul and Larry Pritchard.

The Council is scheduled to vote on four of the five members at today’s meeting. Irving’s appointment is being reviewed by the Council’s Rules Committee.

The commission voted Braxton Gillam to a second term as chair and Tatiana Salvador as vice chair.

The commission also made subcommittee assignments.

The bylaws subcommittee consists of Salvador, who will serve as chair, Jacquot and Young.

The hotline subcommittee includes Young, who will serve as chair, Allen, L.E. Hutton, Irvin, Paul and Salvador.

Legislative comprises Gillam, Hutton, Paul and Pritchard.

The nominating subcommittee includes Hutton, who will serve as chair, Irvin and Young.

The transparency and open government subcommittee will consist of Young, as chair, Allen, Irvin, Jacquot and Pritchard.

jwilhelm@baileypub.com

356-2466

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