Monday, February 8, 2016

GOP proposes integrity office amendments

Posted By on Mon, Feb 8, 2016 at 4:13 PM

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo wants to make some changes to her public integrity office proposal, which she introduced last month. They're big ones, most of them dealing with the office’s director.

County Legislature Majority Leader Brian Marianetti will introduce the changes as amendments tomorrow night when the Legislature takes up the proposal. The Legislature will only be setting a date for a public hearing on the measure tomorrow night, not taking a final vote on it.

Under Dinolfo’s original proposal, the director would be appointed by the county exec and confirmed by the Legislature. But the director would serve at the exec's pleasure, meaning the exec could dismiss the director at any time for practically any reason. Under the amendments, the county exec would still appoint the director and the Lej would still confirm that appointee, but the director could only be dismissed for cause. The director would also be appointed for a five-year term and would have the power to subpoena records from companies contracting with the county.

Dinolfo says the amendments will provide the office with more independence. It'll also bring the office closer in line with standards from the Association of Inspectors General, a non-profit umbrella group for inspectors general and public integrity office leaders. The City of Rochester is also considering changes to its public integrity office so that it's in line with the association's recommendations.

The proposed county public integrity office would have the authority to review the finances and operations of all county departments, as well as all county contracts. It would also be able to recommend financial and operational improvements to county officials.

Democrats praised the amendments, most of which they'd already called for either in prior proposals or during committee debate.

“County Executive Dinolfo promised a new and more open Monroe County government, and on this issue, she has delivered,” said Democratic Minority Leader Cynthia Kaleh. “When Democratic legislators and members of the public responded to her proposal with concerns and suggestions, the vast majority of them were incorporated. I am proud that we were able to contribute to crafting a more independent Office of Public Integrity, and look forward to continuing to find common ground with the executive.”

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