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Oakland Municipal Code Section 2.24.020 outlines the Commission’s functions and duties, providing that “on behalf of the city, its elected officials, officers, employees, boards and commissions” the Commission may recommend legislative amendments, including the adoption of additional penalty provisions, to the City Council regarding local ordinances related to public ethics. The Public Ethics Commission issued a letter to City Council in September 2013 articulating the need for the City to adopt a local Ethics Ordinance and to provide the Commission with increased staffing to support effective ethics prevention and enforcement in City government. Currently, there is no local ethics ordinance in Oakland, and the Commission has no legal authority to impose penalties for violations of ethics laws.
Following the Commission’s letter to City Council, Commission staff submitted a request to the City Attorney’s office for additional support in drafting the language for an ethics ordinance. The City Attorney authorized Alix Rosenthal, the Commission’s legal counsel, to begin drafting the ordinance for completion by January. This is an augmentation of the time availability previously devoted to the Commission by the City Attorney’s office.
Meanwhile, City Council member Dan Kalb is continuing to work with a group of advisors to draft amendments to the Public Ethics Commission’s structure, authority, and resources, and an ethics ordinance has been discussed in that group as well. Given that interest and ensuing discussion, Commission staff will continue to work with Council member Kalb as his workgroup develops proposals in this area.
We want to hear from you and receive public input on Engage Oakland. What provisions should be included in a newly created ethics ordinance for Oakland?