Rochester, New York - March 21, 2011: Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature today criticized their GOP counterparts for opposing the creation of an Office of Public Integrity (OPI) to oversee ethics issues within County Government. To provide independence, the newly established office would have been managed by a five member Public Integrity Board, to be appointed by the County Executive and Legislative Leaders. The OPI would have been overseen by a Director of Public Integrity, whose salary would be funded with the appropriation previously made to the Budget Director, who left to become Airport Director.
Assistant Democratic Leader Carrie M. Andrews (D-Rochester) said, "It is deeply disappointing that our Republican colleagues chose to continue hiding ethical lapses from public view. The system currently in place simply does not work. Although the County has hired a so-called Independent Accountability Counsel, the public never gets to see whether this entity is actually performing the task to which it is charged. Worse still, even County Legislators are prohibited from receiving the most basic information about the counsel's activities, leaving us and the public unable to judge its effectiveness."
On February 7th, Democrats asked the Brooks Administration to provide basic information about the Independent Accountability Counsel (IAC), such as the number of cases opened, the number of complaints to the Whistleblower Hotline and the number of cases referred to law enforcement. In a response from March 18th, the administration refused to provide any of the requested information, claiming all data and information related to the IAC is "privileged and confidential."
The County Executive talks a great game about transparency and openness, but the fact is that she continues to hide information not only from the public, but from her supposed partners in government, the County Legislature. She need to start providing the public with basic information about the IAC," added Legislator Andrews.
To view the proposal, click HERE.