Thursday, May 26, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune: Coalition Launches to Promote Ethics in Ogden Government

With the 2011 Ogden City Municipal Election Season already heating up, it's great to know that a blue ribbon panel of prominent and highly respected local folks will be keeping their eyes peeled for election shenanigans (among other things)

Highly encouraging Emerald City news this morning from Cathy McKitrick, of the Salt Lake Tribune:
A group of Ogden residents have launched the Ogden Ethics Project, not to endorse this season’s growing slate of municipal candidates, they say, but to promote open and fair government.Spearheaded by government watchdog Dan Schroeder, the Ogden Ethics Project gathered inspiration from Utahns for Ethical Government (UEG), a state-wide organization that unsuccessfully pushed ballot initiatives in recent years.
Read the full story here:
And for a broad overview of the group's goals and aspirations, check out the OEP's 5/26/11 press release, which arrived in our own WCF email inbox earlier this morning:
For those readers who'd like to wade in and take a peek at the fledgling Ogden Ethics Project's online efforts so far, check out their web and blog sites:
With the 2011 Ogden City Municipal Election Season already heating up, it's great to know that a blue ribbon panel of prominent and well respected local folks like Mary Hall, Dorrene Jeske, Deb Badger, Jock Glidden, Thom Kuehls and David Smith will be keeping their eyes peeled for election shenanigans (among other things).

Update 5/26/11 1:00 p.m.: Attention Facebook fans. The Ogden Ethics Project is now an active Facebook community organization:
Why not log in right now and click the "like" button, eh? (Can't hurt; and might help in spreading the word, no?)

Update 5/27/11 8:00 a.m.: The Standard is now carrying Scott Schwebke's version of this story too:


Ozboy said...

Sounds like a pretty stellar line up.  All are highly experienced politicians and/or citizen activists.  However, I am a bit skeptical that the majority of citizens in Ogden care about ethics in their local government.   After all, they elected Godfrey three times and his serious ethical lapses are certainly no secret.  It sometimes appears that a candidate's position in the Waaaard and their professed love of the GOP and it's wing nut principles is much more important to the electorate than such pesky stuff as ethics and honor in those they elect.

Curious said...

I thought the paper would give us an update on whether the City Council approved the inflation indexing this year of our sewer and water bills which to this point the paper has not. I hope that they have not but fear that they have.
It would appear that our current sewer and water fees are more than adequate to meet our city’s costs of providing these services as well as covering our capital projects costs relative to these services (including our obligations to fund the weber county water treatment plant expansion) without any additional increases in our existing fees.
 Any additional increases in these fees (under the asepsis of indexing for inflation) would only be an excuse by the city to raise funds (without calling it a tax increase) for other purposes, i.e. to continue to fund and to expand the funding of the administration’s pet projects.
The administrations suggested indexing was indicated in the council’s pre meeting packets to raise an additional approx. 5 million dollars, a number that as I recall closely matched next years proposed increase budget over the previous budget. An increase meant to keep several of the pet departments fully funded and their projects alive. While all other cities are cutting budgets or at best holding them even with the prior year, Ogden City is being increased.
If anyone knows what our City Council did on this indexing, I would be curious to know.

Dan S. said...

Here's the write-up in the Standard-Examiner:

Ogden residents form government watchdog committee

The headline is a little misleading in that our primary mission is to promote better policies and not so much to merely watch and report what happens (though we'll undoubtedly do that too).

More importantly, Mr. Schwebke reached all five of the announced mayoral candidates and four of them expressed support for our mission! Those four all received the press release at the same time as the newspapers. The fifth, former commissioner Bischoff, was apparently caught off-guard because he hadn't received the press release, and that's because I couldn't find an email address for him. Perhaps I should have given him a call.

Bob Becker said...

You could always call up or email a couple of your council members.  I've found that they're generally good about replying to specific questions about Council actions or city policies.  Sometimes it takes a little while since what they may do is track down the city employee who can answer my question definitively, then  pass the answer back to me or put me in touch with the guy.   But they're usually good about replying.

Ask your council members.  

Biker Babe said...

hey, you either have ethics or you don't ... have a pair to stand up for what is right or you don't ... if you're caught off guard and can't answer or reply to questions or an interview about ethics off the cuff ... then you ain't got 'em.


Bob Becker said...

You wrote:
   "hey, you either have ethics or you don't ... have a pair to stand up for what is right or you don't ..."   Yup.  Most of the time when office holders get in trouble on ethical matters, there was no close call involved.  Not for anyone who emerged from childhood with a decent grasp of right and wrong.  For example,  years ago when a new school bonding matter was going before the public for a vote, the Mayor of Ogden went on the city's public operated TV channel to oppose its passage.  Supporters of the bond issue asked for time to go on the public's tv channel to present their views.  The Mayor denied them access.  It should require nothing more than a decent grounding in American history and civics, and a sense of decency and fairness, as well as public responsibility, to know that using the public station to express only your own views on a public vote coming up, and denying access to others was wrong.  Not a close call by any means.   There are close ethical calls, but most of the time when our elected officials get in ethics trouble,  no close call is involved. [Think hot tubs and nekkid teen aged employees, for example. ] Or a Mayor agreeing with a city council that the public-paid lobbyist at the capital will work only on bills both the Mayor and Council agree he should work on, and then the Mayor assigning him to work on a bill to increase his power and cut the Council's without telling the Council about it.  You shouldn't  need a PhD in ethical studies to figure out that was an unethical thing to do.  A man [or woman's] word should be good. Period. Not hard to figure out at all.  

  So largely, I think you're right. You either know right from wrong, or you don't.   Most of the time, it really is that simple. 

Dhitman said...

I agree that Ethics is a dirty word to the general public and most politicians in Utah. The culture wants no changes in their tight fisted control. Any real move toward a more ethical government would loosen their grip. They give lip service to ethical government, but that is all. 

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