Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Who should lead JCOPE?

Who would I select as the new executive director of JCOPE?
Well, I’d vote for the Albany meter maid who slapped a ticket on the SUV parked outside the JCOPE offices this afternoon. The SUV was the vehicle of the Westchester County District Attorney, who, as we all know, is the new JCOPE chair. It had an official Westchester County District Attorney Office parking placard displayed on the dashboard and a very serious looking man seated behind the wheel.
Why the meter maid? Because she’s clearly committed to holding everyone accountable to the same standard under the law. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Could there be a more fundamental rule?
If only the chair and rest of the commissioners understood this. Alas, I have my doubts after the first meeting of panel.
There was Barry Ginsberg sitting next to the new chair just like the old days. And Barry is explaining why JCOPE doesn’t have to abide by Open Meetings Law just like the old days. Some of the commissioners seemed hesitant to go along with the private executive session but they did.
This is Ginsberg’s approach: JCOPE doesn’t have to abide by Open Meetings Law. Nor does it have to abide by the Freedom of Information Laws.
Those laws apply to every other government body, but not the state ethics panel.
Tell me again why that is? Tell me how that inspires confidence in government? Tell me how it sets a standard for others to live up to? Tell me how it represents good government?
Never mind. Just give me the meter maid. She makes sense to me. Nobody else does.

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