FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Thornburgh
President and CEO
(215) 557-3600, ext. 103
(215) 439-0879 (cell)
Committee of Seventy Releases 2015 Integrity Agenda For Mayoral and City Council Candidates
City’s Progress on Ethics and Campaign Finance Must Continue
PHILADELPHIA – February 9, 2015 – The Committee of Seventy today challenged the declared candidates in the 2015 Philadelphia mayoral and City Council races to commit to an Integrity Agenda with specific reform recommendations.
David Thornburgh, Seventy’s new President and CEO, commended the Mayor and City Council for the progress made in recent years, highlighting the city’s first-ever lobbying registration and disclosure law, prohibition on cash gifts for city officials and employees, and strengthened campaign finance rules.
“Major steps have been taken to help set the ground rules for integrity and transparency in city government, especially in the executive branch,” Thornburgh acknowledged. “However, there’s unfinished business to attend to.” Among the recommendations included in both the mayoral and City Council agendas, Thornburgh urged the candidates to:
Establish a permanent and independent Office of the Inspector General in the City Charter;
Enact strict and consistent ethical rules and practices that are binding on all of city government; and,
Pass a comprehensive whistleblower law that protects city employees who report perceived wrongdoing in government.
Thornburgh advised the candidates that “your ability to lead the citizens of Philadelphia and to make government work to improve their lives is laid on a bedrock of trust. Your support for this agenda will send an important early message about what voters can expect from you and your leadership.”
Seventy also called on Mayoral and Council candidates to:
Ensure the Philadelphia Board of Ethics has the funding and staffing necessary to effectively administer and enforce the city’s lobbyist registration rules, disclosure requirements and campaign finance law.
Advocate for legislation that requires elected officials to disclose any ties they and members of their immediate family have to non-profits.
Require all city employees to register their outside jobs with the Philadelphia Board of Ethics, as recommended by the 2009 Task Force on Ethics and Campaign Finance Reform.
Demand the disclosure of donors whose money is being used to fund independent expenditures in city elections.
Thornburgh urged mayoral candidates to support the reauthorization of the current Executive Order establishing a Chief Integrity Officer with jurisdiction over executive and administrative branch employees. The significance of that office and its impact were punctuated by the death of Joan Markman, the City’s first Chief Integrity Officer, who lost a battle to cancer last month.
“Joan exemplified the spirit, grit and honesty that every public servant should aspire to and that citizens should expect. She set a high bar for those who follow, but this will require that the office that she led so effectively be retained.”
Responses by the mayoral and City Council candidates to Seventy’s Integrity Agenda, including their refusal or failure to respond, will be published on Seventy’s website, www.seventy.org, along with other integrity reforms presented by the candidates.
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The Committee of Seventy is a non-partisan organization that campaigns for clean and effective government, fair elections and informed citizens. For more information about Seventy, see www.seventy.org.