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´╗┐Ethics panel

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the county's problems don't get cleaned up, good employees are going to drift away to places where they can be proud to say they work. (If you object that San Bernardino County government polices itself, as some supervisors have claimed, and has no need of an ethics commission, please read the special section "Scandal on the Fifth Floor" included with Sunday's newspaper, and then get back to us.) The sad fact is that there's a culture of permissiveness and carelessness with taxpayer money in this county, and it starts at the top. If supervisors buy themselves multiple sets of binoculars, stay at the best hotels, and sup at places like Ruth Chris Steakhouse in Hong Kong refusing to make public whom they're wining and dining there on the taxpayers' dime, they're setting the tone for loose handling of the taxpayers' money. How can that tone not filter down a few levels and give public servants the idea that they're fools if they don't help themselves to the occasional "perk"? Derry envisions an ethics commission with three to five volunteer members serving staggered terms for continuity, a significant advantage over the annual grand jury that forms in July and disbands the next June. He wants the commission to have the power to investigate and to refer matters directly to the district attorney, the state attorney general or the Fair Political Practices Commission, depending on the suspected ethical lapse. He wants the commission to have the power to fine offenders, which it Nike Air Max Vintage Mens must have in order to be effective. The members would have to be chosen independent of political and supervisorial influence, obviously, by lottery or the like. Derry has suggested having members vetted by an independent group such as the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles. The center's director, Bob Stern, has endorsed the grand jury's recommendation, saying the first thing San Bernardino County needs is an ethics commission. After the patchwork start up money, the commission would need guaranteed funding to shield it from budgetary interference by unhappy elected and appointed leaders. The need is clear. Supervisors should start ironing out the details in their August workshops and get an ethics commission going as quickly as possible.

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slightly stickier question, but for one reason only: the cost. Derry estimates it would cost about $500,000 a year to pay for three county staff positions to serve the volunteer commissioners. He's looking for $50,000 in discretionary funds from each supervisor and $250,000 redirected from elsewhere in the county budget. That's the rub, considering that supervisors already have had to make cuts to county spending and are about to get hit by state money grabs contained in the state budget deal. The three ethics commission staff positions would presumably cost three positions somewhere else in the county bureaucracy. We say the county can't afford not to establish an ethics commission. Consider that Jack Brown, CEO of Stater Bros. and one of our most esteemed businessmen, has complained that the county's reputation for corruption dogs even him when he meets with business people and officials outside the county. "Who got indicted in your county today?" is a smirking question he gets asked. It can't do much for the county's attractiveness to legitimate businesses to be known as a den of corruption. It's not good to be the butt of jokes. And consider all the upstanding, hard working people employed by the county. It's no fun to be a laughingstock or to work for one. If Nike Air Max Pink And Black

For San Bernardino County government, an ethics commission if it's done right definitely would be worth the cost. That's the feeling of Supervisor Neil Derry, the newest member of the board who has decried the county's record of high level corruption and fraud against taxpayers. We agree. Derry 2016 Nike Air Max Kids

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has proposed that the board establish an ethics commission and pass a "Sunshine Ordinance" to eliminate county counsel's overworked "deliberative process" excuse for hiding what should be public documents. The sunshine ordinance is a no brainer. Any supervisor in this scandal ridden county who doesn't support public access to records of the public's government should be voted out of office at the first opportunity. The ethics commission, which Derry campaigned on last year and the grand jury recommended this month, is a Air Max 2017 Black

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