Jax Ethics Commission sets meeting to talk about potential law thwarting its purpose
Jacksonville City Hall.

City_Hall_St_James_Building
Tallahassee is on the verge of restricting local oversight.

Local ethics commissions are set for drastic restrictions if Gov. Ron DeSantis signs a measure passed this Legislative Session.

And Jacksonville’s local board is sounding the alarm during a special meeting Thursday afternoon at City Hall, in which it will talk about SB 7014 and its “Impact on Ethics Commissions.”

The bill had resounding support in Tallahassee, with just four votes against it in the Senate, and 24 opposed in the House.

The bill seems to shut the door on certain complaints, including those based on “hearsay,” a condition which has riled editorial pages.

It also requires complaints to be signed under oath, meaning that aspirant whistleblowers will have to put their names and their reputations on their gripes. This would eliminate independent investigations

Time is of the essence when it comes to memorializing local objections. Much of the bill would take effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature, while sections “creating new timeframes for investigations and preempting certain issues related to local ethics commissions” would take effect in October.

Ahead of a meeting about the legislation in February, Kirby Oberdorfer, the Director of Jacksonville’s Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight, said the legislation would make these panels “lap dogs instead of watchdogs” by gutting their ability to launch independent investigations.

Local concerns haven’t abated.

As Jacksonville Today reports, almost 3/5 of all complaints the local ethics commission gets are anonymous.

The meeting Thursday is intended to figure out the way forward now that it appears one of the city’s primary oversight boards is being divested of a key power.

The start time is 5 p.m. in the Lynwood Roberts Room, and public comment is encouraged.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


2 comments

  • MH/Duuuval

    March 12, 2024 at 10:27 pm

    The MAGA penchant for controlling everything from the top down extends to the local ethics group, who will now behave like the state board, which is a toothless tiger protecting primarily elected officials.

    Under the new rules, Carla Miller would not have been able to pull the rug out from under Lenny Curry & Co. who planned to sell JEA.

    • Florida has made ethics illegal

      March 13, 2024 at 3:33 am

      Under the new rules, ethics are de facto illegal. In all federally regulated industries there has to be a mechanism for anonymous tipping, whistleblowers, reporting violations, etc. Not perfect and there are always gamers but it’s there for a reason. We keep moving further away from government having any semblance of common sense standards and good business practices as the “free market”. This law is an offense against anyone who believes in representative government and the constitution. It is a seven generations sin that will bear nothing but rot.

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