Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Legislators approve county ethics office

Posted By on Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 10:23 AM

Monroe County government will soon have a public integrity office.

The County Legislature passed a measure to create the office by a vote of 28 to 1 last night. Democratic Legislator James Sheppard cast the only "no" vote.

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo introduced the integrity office proposal, and Republican Majority Leader Brian Marianetti later added to it. The office will examine county operations, including the operations and finances of individual departments. It'll be responsible for investigating concerns about county government raised by residents, and it'll offer recommendations on how to improve county operations and finances. It'll also prepare an annual report for the county exec and the Legislature.

The office's director will be appointed by the county executive and confirmed by the Legislature. The director will serve a five-year term and can only be dismissed for cause. The office's leaders will also have the ability to subpoena records from companies doing business with the county.

Sheppard, who said that the proposal could have been stronger, offered some amendments, but they were voted down by Legislature Republicans. Sheppard's amendments would have established a selection committee to find a director and required that the findings of all investigations be made public, among other points.

Democrats have called for a county public integrity office for several years.

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