Chris Bragg had a meaningful piece in the Sunday Times Union. You can read it here if you don't want to pay for the TU premium content: http://www.timesunion.com/tuplus-local/article/Will-review-of-ethics-watchdog-have-bite-6517967.php I should note that Chris would never have written the story if he didn't read my blog. I guess original reporting ideas are rarer than Barbara Bartoletti's hard hitting analysis of ethics in NY.
On that point Chris does us a huge favor by getting Ms. Bartoletti to comment on the record about the JJOKE review panel (as an aside I wonder who suggested he call the goo goos for comment?). Salkin and her review panel made the basic mistake of soliciting comment from the good government groups at the beginning of their review. Assuming as most amateurs in ethics would that the goo goos actually have thought about what a review of JJOKE would entail. But true to form the goo goos miss the forest, the trees and the stinking piles of ethics reform bullshit in the forest. After her stunning failure as part of the Moreland Commission here is what Barbara said to Mr. Bragg when it came to Salkin's review panel.
"Bartoletti said she was impressed by the academic credentials of the eight volunteer commissioners, and believed they would be independent.
The topic of whether the review panel was requesting documents from JCOPE did not come up at the meeting.
"Considering most of the people on the panel are very accomplished lawyers, I can only assume they thought about it and decided legally they can't do it," Bartoletti said."
Just a couple of thoughts here about Barbara's thought process.
Stop being impressed by academic credentials. How many times have we heard assholes tell us how great the academic credentials were of all those involved with ethics in NY? Enough already it's like the Miss America pagent for ethics, all the contestants are smoking hot and have the combined ethics IQ of . . . a doorknob.
Stop believing they will be independent. If the history of NY ethics has taught us nothing else it's that they will not be independent. How independent was the Moreland Commission you served on Barbara? Someone in government appointed them they are not independent. In fact just ask Salkin who appointed her and why.
And stop providing cover for these impressive independent members of the review panel. Barbara is already making excuses for the very accomplished lawyers on the review panel for not at least trying to acquire the material they need to do the most basic review. "I can only assume they thought about it and decided legally they can't do it" What a genius you are Barbara, assuming Salkin's review panel thought about asking for relevant material and deciding that legally they can't do it. Bragg points out in his story that legally they can do it and even explains how they can do it (I admit I helped Chris understand this legal issue, but I lack impressive academic credentials, I am not an accomplished lawyer and I am certainly not a goo goo). Here is what Salkin should have done and still can do. Request the material I listed. Then publicly request that JJOKE vote to release that material. If they vote yes, great do your review and release the information publicly. If they vote no or do not vote at all, make a public statement that they are preventing the review panel from doing it's work and recommend that JJOKE be abolished and lets try again to create a meaningful ethics agency.
By the way the fact that Salkin admits to not even asking for the material tells me all I need to know about her review panels accomplishments, independence and credentials.
And about Salkin's statement of interviewing commissioners I'm going to call bullshit. I know and speak with quite a few who haven't heard from her or her panel.
But here is a thought for the accomplished, impressive and independent review panel why don't you publicly release which present and/or former commissioners and staff you have interviewed. Then Barbara and the rest of the ethics crowd can stop assuming and start advocating.
Remember Barbara the old saying that it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak and remove all doubt.