Ethics in County Government --Society of Professional Journalists

Submitted by lmcshane on Mon, 01/02/2012 - 16:45.
01/11/2012 - 12:00
01/11/2012 - 13:30

FitzGerald to head Jan. 11 program

on ethics in county government      

As former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora goes on trial on corruption charges, former Auditor Frank Russo continues to evade his 21-year prison sentence and more than 50 others have either pleaded guilty or been convicted of playing a part in extensive corruption at Cuyahoga County, SPJ Cleveland has lined up a timely program to examine the county's progress in creating a more ethical culture. 

When the current County Executive Ed FitzGerald took office a year ago, ushering in a new county structure as well as a new regime, he pledged to make ethics his top priority. Soon afterward, he appointed Inspector General Nailah Byrd to take charge of that effort. How have things been going? We have asked FitzGerald - and he has agreed - to be the lead-off speaker in a panel discussion on that topic at a luncheon on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at noon at the City Club of Cleveland. 

County Council has also been active on this issue. Its new members got busy on day one to draw up their own ethics ordinance, which took three months and many hours of work to finalize. That ordinance incorporated many of the recommendations presented by the Code of Ethics Workgroup, set up by the Transition Advisory Group in the spring of 2010 to draft a proposed code for the new county government. (Note: I was a member of the workgroup.) 

Lynda Mayer, who headed the Code of Ethics Workgroup and is the League of Women Voters' county government observer, will join FitzGerald as the second member of our Jan. 11 panel. Mayer is also a member of a new ethics committee started by several local branches of the League of Women Voters. 

Our third panelist has not yet confirmed, but we have invited a reporter who has covered county government over the past year, including the development of the new ethics ordinance. We'll let you know as soon as possible who that third panelist will be. 

Meanwhile, mark your calendars with the date: Jan. 11, and the time: 12 noon, and prepare to come out for an excellent discussion on an issue near and dear to every SPJer's heart: ethics. As our members well know, SPJ has its own Code of Ethics, of which it is rightly proud. It is probably the one thing for which SPJ is best known, and its chapters all aim to hold at least one program on ethics each year. This is our annual ethics program. Like all our programs, it is open to anyone who wishes to attend.

Lunch is included as part of your admission.  Lunch will be served at 12:00 p.m. and the program will run from 12:30-1:30 p.m.

Parking is available in the garage/parking lot off Prospect Avenue just west of W. 8th.  If you bring your parking ticket to the City Club, they will validate it for a reduced rate.

For questions, please contact SPJ Secretary-Treasurer Tom Moore at 440-454-3282 or tmoore56 [at] msn [dot] com.

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