Friday, December 9, 2011

A Zombie Agency

Zero hour is less than 10 hours away. COB today is effectively when the state Commission on Public Integrity will cease to exist. At least that’s what the Commission says on their website, but as regular readers of the blog know sometimes the Commission has been known to use math that only they understand.

And what will happen if the commission's math is correct?

My guess is nothing.

This is Albany so deadlines are transactional.

But, barring the extraordinary action of ignoring the statute and just saying JCOPE starts when we say it does and therefore PIC can live on as a zombie agency, one thing that will happen is that 30 or so employees of the commission will no longer have jobs, which is a pretty lousy thing to do to people during the holiday season.

Another thing that will happen is that there’ll be no place to report an ethical violation, no place to file a required report, no place to seek a legal opinion on ethical matters.

As regular readers of this blog know, I’ve been warning about this very situation for months. And now it looks like it’s going to happen, and I’m stunned.

Will someone please explain this to me: Why couldn’t the Governor and the Legislature get together and constitute a state ethics panel after more than six months?

This is absurd. Don't they care about ethics?

And making matters worse is the cavalier attitude of the current executive director of the commission. Barry Ginsberg could care less about his staff. He’s busy giving interviews to media outlets in which he touts his stellar achievements as head of the commission.

Ginsberg should have crept away months ago, but he’s hung around and is telling people that he’ll have a prominent role in the next ethics panel if and when it is constituted.

This is chutzpah to the max. Ginsberg’s “leadership” brought us embarrassment after embarrassment.

It started with Inspector General Joe Fisch’s damning Troopergate report about Barry’s “leadership”.

Ginsberg also brought us the ridiculous hors d’ourve decision. He gave us the hard line PSA announcement rules. He gave Paterson and his people a pass for leaking private documents about Caroline Kennedy. He ignored numerous conflicts of interest on the commission (see Mike Cherkasky.) He even stood by as certain commissioners law firms were directly involved in lobbying. And in one case prevented the records from being disclosed on the commission website for months.

Does anyone remember when the new legislation passed it was Barry’s “leadership” that allowed the commissions spokesperson to state that legislators would now be allowed to fill their bellies with Scotch.

I could go on, but you get the point: The commission and it “leadership” was a travesty and it is now being followed by another travesty.

At a minimum the governor and the legislature should appoint the commissioners as soon as possible, terminate Barry and his “leadership”, tell the employees that they will continue until a new executive director is selected and usher in a new beginning.

As a fan of the ends justify the means style of government we've seen lately I can even accept the twisted logic that says let PIC continue until JCOPE is ready (even though an ethics agency is the last place you should play fast and loose with the rules) as long as the end result is a new agency without Barry and committed to excellence.

Fail to do so though and this new commission will begin right where the old one ended. As the walking dead.

No comments:

Post a Comment