Saturday, January 12, 2008

Oh, The Things You Can Count: My Ethics Board Request

56 days after my third e-mail request, and

92 days after I first asked in person,

Pittsburgh's Ethics Board is still refusing to release its secret memo from the City Law Department. The secret? The Law Department's advice on how to obey Pennsylvania's Sunshine Act--the law mandating that meetings be open to the public.

My fourth request was answered within two hours on Friday--not by the Ethics Board itself--but by City Solicitor George Specter.

You can read Specter's letter below, in a separate post. Soon, I'll be blogging a closer look at the elements of the Law Department's response...and how it relates to the issues raised in my requests.



Bram Reichbaum said...

Best. Ethics. Board. Ever.

It is controlled by the legal department, which itself is in thrall to the Mayor, who as we know is not keen on process. My estimation of Ms. Zacharias just went up a notch.

Good luck with all this. Sounds like one good lawsuit and kaboom.....

Anonymous said...

The City Ethics Board needs its own independent solicitor.

Under Murphy's administration, Law Department jobs were publically advertised and the best candidates were chosen by merit.

Under Ravenstahl's administration, there has been no public advertising for any of the vacancies (other than chief solicitor).

Reasonable people can only infer certain things when there were no advertisements for the city attorney positions...the positions must have been filled by individuals who had the inside track to the jobs.

This can only cause the public to lose faith in the independence of the city law department and in its ability to render, independent, advice (that is not politically tainted) to the ethics board.

Char said...

How simultaneously pathetic AND Pittsburgh predictable.

The least transparent and most secretive city government body turns out to be the Ethics Board.

Somebody please wake me up. I'm tired of this dream.