The Leadership Palm Beach County Ethics Initiative was launched in 2007 by Leadership Palm Beach County past presidents Marty Rogol and David Baker in response to the convictions of several county and municipal elected officials. Andrew Baumann later joined as co-chair of the committee. As leaders, they recognized that LPBC could be a catalyst for replacing the “Corruption County" image with a “Culture of Ethics” label.
A committee was formed to study best practices in ethics policy and education, survey opinion leaders, advise on public policy and host community-wide forums on ethics. Later, the Ethics Initiative successfully formed a coalition with a number of community and business groups to bring about ethics reform in Palm Beach County. Although this is no longer an active LPBC committee, we are proud of the part we played in stimulating dialogue and change in our community. Below is a brief history of the initiative.
The committee created the county’s first Ethics Pledge in 2008, based on the Athenian Oath, which had its origin in Athens, Greece more than 2,000 years ago. Affirming their civic duty to hold sacred the ideals of our community, the pledge has been signed by dozens of candidates for office and elected and appointed officials in Palm Beach County.
The committee hosted community-wide forums on ethics. Forum guest speakers included such dignitaries as former Florida CFO Alex Sink, Florida Chamber Foundation President President Dale Brill, and Palm Beach County Inspector General Sheryl Steckler.
In 2009, following the issuance of a grand jury report on corruption in Palm Beach County, the committee partnered with other community organizations to advise on and draft county ordinances for a referendum to establish a Commission on Ethics, Office of Inspector General and a Code of Ethics as part of the county’s charter. In November 2010, 72 percent of voters approved the referendum and extended oversight to the employees and elected officials of each of the county’s 38 municipalities.
Due in large part to the efforts of the LPBC Ethics Initiative, the National Association of Counties presented to Palm Beach County its 2011 Achievement Award for its sweeping ethics reform measures. The Palm Beach County Ethics Initiative was recognized as an effective and innovative program which contributes to and enhances county government, and serves as an outstanding example of promoting transparency in government.
Recognizing that compliance measures were only half of the solution for curing the “Corruption County” image, members of the committee acted as advisors for the creation of a Center for Applied Ethics at Palm Beach State College. The CAE focuses on providing education and training to assist organizations and employees in creating a culture of ethics.
Leadership Palm Beach County is proud of the LPBC Ethics Initiative for its work to make our community a more open, transparent and inviting place to live and work.
On Wednesday, December 7, 2011 the Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued its first annual report. This report, as mandated by the OIG Ordinance, summarizes the OIG activities for the period June 28, 2010 through September 30, 2011.
Visit www.pbcgov.com/ethics/ for more information about Palm Beach County's ethics initiative.