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Ethics

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NEWS
March 8, 2010
IT IS DISAPPOINTING to see the city's Board of Ethics undermine its own reputation for solid work by its adoption of the ethical stinkbomb called the DROP program. Evan Meyer, general counsel for the Board of Ethics, signed up for the city's Deferred Retirement Option Plan, which meant that in exchange for agreeing to retire by a certain date, he would get a special payment of some of his pension benefits in a lump sum. Meyer was allowed to take advantage of the program's most unseemly loophole by retiring for a day in order to collect the lump sum, and then getting hired back at his former salary.
NEWS
May 26, 2005
HERE IS our handy Daily News ballot you can take to the polls . . . oops, the primary was last week wasn't it? Today, there is a vote that will have a bigger impact on the city than a new slate of judicial candiates: the vote in City Council on a significant ethics reform bill. This bill changes how no-bid contracts are awarded and may be voted on by Council today. A slew of other ethics bills are currently in committee, and all could be voted on before Council recesses in June.
NEWS
July 8, 1986
In your June 22 article on surrogate mothers, research on embryos (unborn human beings), and related issues, Dr. Michael Birnbaum is quoted as saying, "The ethical questions are always there, but the minute we stop doing something because of ethics, we stop going forward and start going backward. " He seems to be saying that if scientists possess the knowledge and ability to perform a given act, they should do it regardless of the consequences. This is precisely the attitude that disturbs many people, including me. The divorce of ethical considerations from science can only result in the most horrible abuses of human rights.
NEWS
July 30, 1989 | By Chris Conway, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
Paul Contillo's home town of Paramus in Bergen County was a boom town during the 1970s, and in the rush to build shopping centers and other developments, Contillo saw some troubling things in municipal government. "We had tremendous pressure on the planning board and the board of adjustment for considerations for developers, and the boards were filled with insurance adjustors and plumbers and people like that," recalled Contillo, then a Paramus councilman and now a Democratic state senator.
NEWS
May 20, 2010
TODAY, WITH ALL eyes fixed on the budget, Council could move to pass a package of "ethics" bills, not all of which are especially ethical. One part of the package, a proposal to require lobbyists to register with the city and disclose their activities, is a good idea. Unfortunately, it's lumped together with another bill that would lift a longstanding ban on political activity by city employees. This would depend on public approval of a charter change that would give Council authority to set political-activity rules by ordinance, rather than seeking voter approval.
NEWS
June 24, 1989 | By ROBERT SCHOLES
We have a problem in this country with what our President might call "the ethics thing. " We have also been made aware in recent years that we have a massive problem in our school systems. Let us call this second problem, just to keep things neat, a matter of "this thinking thing. " The graduates of our schools - even our elite business and professional schools - don't seem to be very good at solving ethical or moral problems. And the graduates of all our schools - but especially our public secondary schools - don't seem to be very good at any kind of thinking.
NEWS
March 5, 1994
There are two kinds of responsibility. There is moral responsibility, powerful and immutable. And legal responsibility, which is negotiable. There are also two kinds of ethics. There are moral ethics, which are grounded solidly, and legal ethics, subject to the kind of interpretation that would make an eastern European figure skating judge blanch. For instance, NBC-TV was morally irresponsible when it put igniters in a truck for a show on General Motors' pickup trucks, which seem to have a disquieting tendency to blow up. It was ethically dubious as well, so NBC fired a bunch of people, fell all over itself apologizing and replaced its news boss.
NEWS
May 14, 1987 | By Katharine Seelye, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Haverford Township Board of Commissioners has pledged to adopt a code of ethics, but has not determined a method or time by which it will do so. Unanimous approval of the intention came Monday night after the board rejected, by the surprisingly close vote of 5-4, a specific code proposed by Commissioner Ben Kapustin. In most cases, a proposal by the board's lone Democrat would have been soundly defeated. Kapustin first offered his code six months ago. In the face of indifference and hostility from other board members, he dropped the plan until two weeks ago, when the proposed code came under heavy criticism.
NEWS
December 21, 2004
I find it absolutely amazing that in a city where corruption is an accepted form of doing business, city workers would question a law that protects the taxpayer from possible nepotism. If Councilman David Cohen's daughter is incapable of understanding her father's actions and still holds a grudge after 20 years, I think there must be other problems in the relationship. I'm also amazed by Councilman Rick Mariano successfully lobbying for a job for his son. Mariano was angry that his family members couldn't apply for a job with the city.
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NEWS
June 27, 2016
David Thornburgh is president and CEO of the Committee of Seventy Patricia Dowden is president and CEO of the Center for Business Ethics and Corporate Governance The conviction last week of longtime Congressman Chaka Fattah on 22 charges of racketeering, money laundering, and fraud has sent shock waves through the Philadelphia community. "[He] betrayed the public trust and undermined our faith in government," said U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger. And he is only one of an embarrassing list of state and local officials who have recently pleaded guilty or been convicted of public corruption.
NEWS
May 27, 2016 | By Chris Brennan, Staff Writer
The Philadelphia Board of Ethics has concluded that a former deputy city commissioner solicited money from someone she helped in her office and engaged in prohibited political activity. Tracey Gordon, who held the post from February 2012 until December 2014, was fined $2,201 for six City Charter violations, the Ethics Board announced Wednesday. Gordon, who was suspended without pay in May 2014 after the Ethics Board impounded her City Hall office computer and who later was fired, insisted she did nothing wrong.
NEWS
May 17, 2016 | By John Baer
BECAUSE IT never ends and no longer surprises, another round of charges and a criminal plea involving Pennsylvania public figures pretty much gets a shrug. It shouldn't, but for citizens outside the circles of politics it does. For them, two more names - Larry Farnese, John Estey - are but interchangeable stickmen in games long seen as shady. Last week, connected Philly lawyer Estey, former top aide to Gov. Rendell, pleaded guilty after pocketing $13,000 during an elaborate sting designed to catch others.
NEWS
May 7, 2016
ISSUE | PENNSYLVANIA JUDICIARY In Segal's corner in spite of ethics probe I have known Municipal Court Judge Dawn Segal for more than 20 years, and she is a person and public servant of complete integrity ("Judgment day for Pa. judges?" Tuesday). The charges filed against her by the state Judicial Conduct Board are not about fixing a case but about failing to report improper calls from a fellow judge. She has acknowledged this lapse. Nothing I have read or heard leads me to waver from my utmost belief in Segal's honesty and integrity.
NEWS
May 4, 2016
Municipal Court Judge Dawn Segal probably didn't suspect the FBI was listening when another judge asked her to fix a case or when she told him, according to recently filed legal documents, "I took care of it. " Why would she expect anyone in authority to monitor judges' conduct? In Pennsylvania, lax enforcement of judicial ethical standards has been the norm, and it has fostered a system pervaded by casual corruption, from rampant ticket-fixing by traffic judges to bigoted and pornographic emails traded by justices of the state's highest court.
NEWS
March 20, 2016 | By Craig R. McCoy, Angela Couloumbis, and Mark Fazlollah, STAFF WRITERS
When the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board first cleared state Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin of any wrongdoing with his emails, its chief counsel praised him for being "helpful and cooperative. " How helpful was the justice? "I have not retained copies of any email at all," he told the board in 2014. What about his emails with suggestive pictures or racially offensive jokes? "I recall no such emails," Eakin said. The justice resigned Tuesday after tearful apologies about his troubling emails failed to quell public outrage, but his fight goes on. And his unlikely ally is none other than the Judicial Conduct Board, the agency responsible for prosecuting him on ethics charges.
NEWS
March 15, 2016 | By Jan Hefler, Staff Writer
An obscure ethics board in an upscale South Jersey town hastily scheduled a rare special meeting last week to take care of some very old unfinished business. The Moorestown Township Ethical Standards Board announced it would meet "in the Town Hall Donut Room" on Wednesday and noted its first order of business would be to approve the minutes of its Oct. 24, 2012 meeting. Why the rush now? Last month, a government watchdog sued the town in state Superior Court for refusing to let him read the minutes.
NEWS
February 27, 2016 | By Craig R. McCoy and Angela Couloumbis, STAFF WRITERS
PITTSBURGH - The judicial ethics court that will decide the fate of embattled Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin on Thursday rejected a deal by the justice and his accusers to negotiate a settlement in the Porngate case. The panel's decision to bar any deal - sight unseen - sets the stage for a public airing of the details of a tawdry scandal. Eakin, who has been suspended from the bench, is charged with violating judicial ethics rules by exchanging offensive emails. At Thursday's hearing, Eakin, 67, grew visibly angry as the lead judge on the disciplinary tribunal curtly informed him, his lawyers, and lawyers for the Judicial Conduct Board that the court had no interest in considering a deal.
NEWS
February 11, 2016 | By Mark Fazlollah and Craig R. McCoy, STAFF WRITERS
The Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board sharply criticized Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane on Tuesday, saying she had failed to comply with a subpoena aimed at making sure she had turned over all offensive emails sent or received by state Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin. Kane learned of the content of Eakin's emails after discovering that they had been captured on government computers because he exchanged them with a friend who worked in her office. She had previously given large numbers of Eakin's emails to the judicial board, which described them as salacious, misogynistic, and racist in bringing a misconduct case against him in December.
NEWS
January 30, 2016 | By Julia Terruso, Staff Writer
Mary McDaniel, a city staff attorney for three years, will be chief ethics officer to City Council. Council approved the appointment in a resolution passed Thursday. The title does not come with a raise for McDaniel, who makes $87,975 a year. "One of the things we want to make sure is that individuals that work for City Council understand all the rules and laws," Council President Darrell L. Clarke said. Clarke said McDaniel would work as a conduit between Council and the city's chief integrity officer.
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