blog about the Broward County Legislative
Delegation -that is, the ones who bother to
show-up- which will incorporate some of what
I wrote over the weekend but never posted.
I may also have some new information about
behind-the-scenes efforts to kill the Ethics
Reform baby in the crib.
I will be at Tuesday's meeting, taking photos
and shooting some video so that anyone in
South Florida who's curious, can see what's
what and 'Who's Who's' in the audience.
At that Broward County Ethics Commission
meeting I attended in early December, I was
the only citizen there for most of the meeting,
and the only one there from beginning-to-end.
Believe me, it's not much to brag about.
Frankly, it doesn't look to me like many people
in authority in Broward are exactly rushing the
dais to be known as a Profile in Courage.
At that Ethics Commission meeting I attended,
George Morgan of the Broward Workshop
was the only citizen to speak.
He's consistently working to make this area better
for citizens and businesses alike, but what does
it say about the chronic apathy and fecklessness
of this community that he's so often, seemingly,
alone on an island?
Now there's a question deserving a lengthy
The silence of so many well-known lobbyists in
the recent Miami Herald series on corruption,
doesn't bode well for their willingness to turn over
a new leaf and meekly accept Broward citizens' desire
for a change in the political and social culture here.
Their friends, embedded in high-places (and low),
will no doubt act accordingly when they are given
their cues to either go into full sabotage strategy
or purposeful mis-direction to draw the media's
attention elsewhere at the appropriate time.
Which may just be for the best because then we
can finally see who's on what side of the debate.
It seems to me that if you have logical, easily
understood ethical standards that cover both
county employees and commissioners, leaving
no room for misunderstanding, and create an
expectation that the standard WILL be followed
or else, you increase self-policing because regular
county employees in a position to see something
nefarious will be less hesitant to drop a dime if
they know that the failure to report what you
see will also be punished.
I know that some people don't agree with me on
that very last point, even people I usually agree
with, but consider this.
If I were to see the sort of rules I approve of
enacted, covering ALL county employees and
with at-will investigations by an IG, what should
be the legal responsibility of a Broward County
employee who knows something?
Should they be punished for not coming forward?
I say yes, just as is the case with students at some
well-known colleges with honor codes, like UVA,
the University of Virginia
and Washington & Lee,
the latter being where my eldest niece goes to school,
as well as the Service Academies
Why should government officials and employees
in Broward County be held to a lesser standard
than college students?
Personally, I would even say that contractors who
are later found to have participated in or condoned
unethical behavior involving county employees.
would be banned from bidding for five years.
This would apply to lawyer/lobbyists individually,
That honor code I spoke of actually attracts
ambitious kids who want to be around other
smart and high-caliber people.
Meanwhile, on Andrews Avenue, using the low
standards they have, wink-wink, they wonder
why well-informed Broward citizens perceive
them the way we do...
Or in Commissioner Stacy Ritter's case,
fundamentally mis-read the political tea leaves
and publicly say that we should just trust them.
The information below is courtesy of Sandy Harris,
the Executive Director of the Broward Legislative
She was very friendly and helpful to me last week
in explaining their part of the process to me.
BROWARD LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION
Local Bill Public Hearing
January 26, 2010 – 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
111 East Las Olas Boulevard
12th Floor Boardroom
Fort Lauderdale, FL.
I. CALL MEETING TO ORDER
II. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
III. ROLL CALL
IV. LOCAL BILLS
a. Lauderhill Annexation
Sponsored by Senator Chris Smith
b. Broward County Inspector General Bill
Sponsored by Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff
January 22, 2010
A bill to be entitled
An Act relating to Broward County creating the office of Inspector General of Broward County, providing for definitions, functions, authority and powers of the Broward County Inspector General; providing for qualifications, selection, contract, facilities and staff; providing for reporting and budgeting; providing for removal; providing for powers of state attorney; providing for a referendum; providing for an effective date.
Whereas, various public officials throughout South Florida have recently been charged with public corruption and the misuse of office; and
Whereas, misconduct involving abuse, corruption, fraud, and mismanagement by elected and appointed local government officials and employees in Broward County agencies and instrumentalities, contractors, and other parties doing business with Broward County and/or receiving local government funds, undermines public confidence in local government and prevents the local government in Broward County from operating honestly, efficiently and effectively; and
Whereas, it is critically important that local government elected and appointed officials and employees within Broward County discharge their duties and responsibilities in a lawful and ethical manner and be held accountable for their misconduct, inefficiency and ineffectiveness; and
Whereas, imposing the duty on all elected and appointed local government officials and employees to cooperate with and report misconduct to the Inspector General will broaden and strengthen the Inspector General’s ability to detect, investigate, eliminate, and deter misconduct by Broward County officials and employees, vendors and government funded entities and promote integrity, honesty and efficiency in government; now therefore;
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
Section 1. Title
This act shall be entitled “The Broward County Office of Inspector General Act”
Section 2. Definitions
A. “County” shall mean the Charter Government of Broward County.
B. “Board” shall mean the Board of County Commissioners of Broward County.
C. “State Attorney” shall mean the State Attorney of the 17th Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County or any elected or appointed successor or interim officers or special prosecutors acting in State Attorney’s stead.
D. “Inspector General” shall mean the Broward County office of Inspector General created pursuant to this act.
E. “Local Government” shall mean the Charter Government of Broward County and all dependent districts of Broward County, the School Board and School District of Broward County, the Constitutional Officers of Broward County, as provided in Article VIII, section 1 of the Florida Constitution, all independent districts operating solely within Broward County. The term “Local Government” shall not mean municipalities within Broward County or dependent districts of any municipality within Broward County.
Section 3. Broward County Office of Inspector General Created and Established
A. Created and Established. There is hereby established the Broward County Office of Inspector General which is created in order to detect misconduct involving abuse, corruption, fraud,
waste, inefficiencies, and mismanagement by or violation of ordinances, State or Federal statutes or State or Federal Constitutions. The Inspector General shall have the power and responsibility to investigate elected and appointed County officials and employees, county Local Governments and all agencies and instrumentalities, contractors, and other parties doing business with the Charter Government of Broward County Local Governments and/or receiving Broward County Local Government funds. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the powers and responsibilities of the Inspector General of investigation shall not include violations of any law enforcement officer as defined in F.S. 112.531 and any firefighter as defined in F.S. 112.81. officers and employees of Broward County municipalities and dependent districts of said municipalities. The Inspector General shall head the Office of Inspector General. The organization and administration of the Office of Inspector General shall be independent to assure that no interference or influence external to the Office of Inspector General adversely affects the independence and objectivity of the Inspector General.
B. Functions, Authority and Powers.
(1) Upon receipt of a written signed complaint, the Inspector General shall make a determination within ten (10) working days whether or not said complaint demonstrates probable cause of misconduct involving abuse, corruption, fraud, or violation of ordinances, State or Federal statutes or State or Federal Constitutions. Said determination shall be contained in a document signed by the Inspector General. Once probable cause has been found, the Inspector General shall inform the individual or individuals who may be the subject of an investigation that they have fifteen (15) working days to respond to the findings of the Inspector General. After receipt of a response or fifteen (15) working days, the Inspector General shall fully investigate the complaint in which probable cause has been found. The Inspector General shall complete any investigation within 180 days of the Inspector General’s finding of probable cause.
(2) Upon finding of probable cause as provided in (1) above, the Inspector General shall have the authority to: (a)
make undertake investigations of County Local Government officers, employees and other Local Government matters, publish the results of such investigations; and (b) review and audit past, present and proposed county Local Government programs, accounts, records, contracts, change orders and transactions. ; and ( c) prepare reports and recommendations to the Board based on such investigations. All elected and appointed County Local Government officials and employees, County Local Government agencies and instrumentalities, contractors and other parties doing business with the County Local Government and/or receiving county Local Government funds shall fully cooperate with the Inspector General.
(3) Pursuant to an investigation where there has been a finding of probable cause,
Tthe Inspector General shall have the power to conduct audits of, require reports from, and receive full and unrestricted access to the records of the Board, County Administrator Local Government, all elected and appointed county Local Government officials and employees, county Local Government departments, divisions, agencies and instrumentalities, contractors and other persons and entities doing business with the County Local Government and/or receiving County Local Government funds regarding any such contracts or transactions with the County Local Government. The Inspector General’s jurisdiction includes but shall not be limited to all projects, programs, contracts or transactions that are funded in whole or in part by the County Local Government. The Inspector General may contract with outside entities deemed necessary to perform the functions of said office. This subsection shall not apply to collective bargaining agreements.
(4) In the case of a refusal to obey a request by the Inspector General for documents or for an interview, the Inspector General shall have the power to subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, and require the production of records. Seventy-two hours prior to serving a subpoena, the Inspector General shall provide written notice to the State Attorney and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. The Inspector General shall not interfere with any ongoing criminal investigation or prosecution of the State Attorney or U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. When the State Attorney or U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida has explicitly notified the Inspector General in writing that the Inspector General’s investigation is interfering with an ongoing criminal investigation or prosecution, the Inspector General shall suspend service of subpoena, examination of witnesses, or other investigative activities as set forth in the notice. In the case of a refusal to obey a subpoena served to any person, the Inspector General may make application to any circuit court of this State which shall have jurisdiction to order the witness to appear before the Inspector General and to produce evidence if so ordered, or to give testimony touching on the matter in question.
The costs of reviews, audits, inspections and investigations by the Inspector General shall be defrayed in part by imposition of a fee which shall be equal to one quarter of one percent (0.25 %) of the contract price (hereinafter “IG contract fee”) added to each county contract. The IG contract fee shall not apply to the following county contracts: Contracts for legal services; Auditing contracts; Federal, state and local government-funded grants; and Interlocal agreements. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Board may authorize the inclusion of the IG contract fee in any contract. Nothing contained in this subsection shall in any way limit the power of the Inspector General provided for in this act to perform audits, inspections, reviews and investigations on all County contracts including, but not limited to, those contracts specifically exempted from the IG contract fee.
(5) Where after a finding of probable cause and the Inspector General
finds probable cause believes in good faith that there is a or suspects a possible violation of any state, federal or local law, or rule, regulation or policy, he or she shall notify the appropriate civil, criminal or administrative agencies charged with enforcement of said violation. In the case of a possible violation of a rule, regulation or policy governing a County Local Government employee, the Inspector General shall notify the County Administrator and the head of the Department for which the employee works Chief Executive Officer of the Local Government. After referring the matter to the appropriate entity for fact-finding, the Inspector General may assist the entity in conducting the investigation.
(6) In order to investigate misconduct involving abuse, corruption, fraud, or violation of ordinances, State or Federal statutes or State or Federal Constitutions, the Inspector General shall have the power without limitation to audit, investigate, monitor, inspect and review the operations, activities,
performance and procurement processes of Local Government including, but not limited to, actives of contractors, its officers, agents and employees, lobbyists and Local Government staff and officials.
The Inspector General shall have the power to receive, review and investigate any complaints regarding Co unty-funded projects, programs, contracts or transactions. The Inspector General shall establish a “hotline” and website to receive complaints, from either anonymous or identified persons.
The Inspector General may exercise any of the powers contained in this act upon his or her own initiative.
The Inspector General shall be notified in writing prior to any meeting of a selection committee where any matter relating to the procurement of goods or services by the County is to be discussed. The notice required by this subsection shall be given to the Inspector General as soon as possible after a meeting has been scheduled, but in no event later than one business day prior to the scheduled meeting. The Inspector General may, at his or her discretion, attend all duly noticed County meetings relating to the procurement of goods or services as provided herein, and may pose questions and raise concerns consistent with the functions, authority and powers of the Inspector General.
It is anticipated that Broward County Constitutional Officers and the School Board of Broward County, municipalities, special districts, and other public officials and entities within Broward County, will recognize and desire to benefit from the services of the Office of Inspector General. The Inspector General may negotiate agreements or memoranda of understanding with other public entities within Broward County which would authorize the Inspector General to exercise any and all authority, function and powers set forth in this act for the benefit of such public entities. The memorandum of understanding or agreement shall include a provision for fees to be paid to the Inspector General from the public entity in exchange for such benefits. Such fee shall be based on a rate established by the Inspector General and shall include, but not be limited to, the IG contract fee. Any such agreement or memorandum of understanding shall be scheduled for a public hearing before the Broward County Board of County Commissioners before said agreement is effective.
(8) The Inspector General’s records related to active investigations shall be and are confidential and exempt from disclosure, as provided by F.S. 112.3188(2).
(9) The Inspector General
is considered shall be deemed “an appropriate local official” of the County and any Broward Local Government that contracts with the Inspector General and Board of County Commissioners for purposes of whistleblower protection provided by F.S. 112.3188(1).
(10) The Inspector General may recommend remedial action
s and may provide prevention and training services to County officials, employees, and any other persons covered by this act to Local Government. The Inspector General may follow up to determine whether recommended remedial actions have been taken.
(11) The Inspector General shall establish policies and procedures and monitor the costs of investigations undertaken. The Inspector General shall cooperate with all governmental agencies to recover costs from all entities involved in willful misconduct in regard to Local Government funds.
(12) Nothing herein shall abridge employees’ constitutional right to collective bargaining.
C. Minimum Qualifications, Selection and Term of Office
(1) Minimum qualifications. The Inspector General shall be a person who:
- Has at least
ten (10)seven (7) years of experience in any one or a combination of the following fields:
- as a federal, state or local law enforcement officer/official;
- as a federal or state court judge;
- as a federal, state,
orlocal government attorney or private attorney with expertiseexperience in investigating fraud, mismanagement andcorruption and violations of law.
- as an inspector general, certified public accountant, or internal auditor;
- as a person with progressive supervisory and managerial experience in an investigative public agency similar to an inspector general’s office;
- Has managed and completed complex investigations involving allegations of fraud, theft, deception or conspiracy;
- Has demonstrated the ability to work with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and the judiciary;
- Has a four-year degree from an accredited institution of higher learning;
- Has not been employed by Broward County or any other governmental entity subject to the authority of the Inspector General Office during the two-year period immediately prior to selection;
- Highly qualified candidates will also have audit-related skills and/or hold one or more of the following professional certifications at the time of selection: certified inspector general (CIG), certified inspector general investigator (CIGI), certified inspector general auditor (CIGA), certified public accountant (CPA), certified internal auditor (CIA), or certified fraud examiner (CFE).
- A candidate, besides having background in subsection a through f above, shall also have experience in the management of private business or of a public entity or subdivision therein.
(2) Selection. Responsibility for selecting the Inspector General shall be vested solely with the Inspector General Selection Committee (“Selection Committee”). The Selection Committee shall be comprised of: (a) one person chosen by the Chief Judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit, (b) one person chosen by the Chair of the Broward Legislative Delegation, (c) the Mayor of Broward County, (d) the State Attorney for the 17th Judicial Circuit, (e) the Public Defender for the 17th Judicial Circuit, (f) the President of the Broward County Police Chief’s Association. The persons chosen pursuant to (a) and (b) above shall not meet the definition of lobbyist either by county ordinance nor state law for two years prior to their selection. No member of the Selection Committee shall be an elected or appointed official or employee of any local government within Broward County at the time of selection. The chairperson of the Selection Committee shall be selected by the members of the Selection Committee and the Selection Committee shall determine their own rules of procedure. After thoroughly reviewing qualifications, background information, and personal and professional referrals, the Selection Committee shall notify the Broward County Attorney of its selection. The County Attorney shall assist the selected Inspector General as set forth in Section 3D.
- Initial Selection. Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this act, the Human Resources Division of the County shall solicit qualified candidates. Within one hundred and twenty (120) days of the effective date of this act, the Selection Committee shall in good faith endeavor to select the Inspector General.
(3) Staffing of Selection Committee. The Human Resources Division of Broward County shall provide staff to the Selection Committee and as necessary shall advertise the acceptance of resumes for the position of Inspector General. All resumes received by the Human Resources Division will be forwarded to the Selection Committee for consideration. The Human Resources Division shall contract with an appropriate entity to ensure that background checks are conducted on the candidates selected for interview by the Selection Committee. The results of the background checks shall be provided to the Selection Committee prior to the interview of candidates. Following the initial selection of the Inspector General, the Selection Committee, for future selection processes as described in subsection C(2) above, may continue to employ the services of the Human Resources Division or may utilize its own staff to solicit candidates for Inspector General. All advertisements for the acceptance of resumes for Inspector General shall include a salary range commensurate with public officials of like experience and expertise.
(4) Term. The Inspector General shall serve for a term of four (4) years. At least six (6) months prior to the end of each contract term, the Selection Committee will determine whether or not to renew the contract for an additional term of four (4) years, and shall promptly notify the Inspector General of its decision. In the event the Selection Committee elects not to renew the contract, the Selection Committee shall promptly convene as necessary to solicit candidates for the selection of a new Inspector General in the same manner as described in subsection C(2) above. The incumbent Inspector General may submit his or her name as a candidate to be considered for selection. The incumbent Inspector General shall serve until a successor is selected and assumes office.
(5) Vacancy. In case of a vacancy in the position of Inspector General, the chair of the Selection Committee may appoint a member of the Inspector General’s Office as interim Inspector General within ten (10) days of vacancy occurring, until such time as a successor Inspector General is selected and assumes office. A successor Inspector General shall be selected in the same manner as described in subsection C(2) above, except for the following specific time constraints: (a) solicitation for qualified candidates for selection should be published within twenty (20) days, but no later than forty (40) days of the date the vacancy occurs; and (b) the Selection Committee must in good faith endeavor to convene and select an Inspector General within ninety (90) days of the date the vacancy occurs.
D. Contract. The Selection Committee, with the assistance of the County Attorney of Broward County shall negotiate a contract of employment with the Inspector General substantially consistent with the terms included in contracts of other contractual employees of Broward County. The Inspector General shall be paid at a rate commensurate with public officials of like experience and expertise. Before the Selection Committee approves a contract for the Inspector General, a public hearing for same shall be scheduled by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners. The contract will cover the four-year term subject to the removal provisions in subsection J of this act. The contract shall include a provision requiring the Selection Committee to provide notice of its decision to renew or not to renew the contract at least six (6) months prior to the termination of the contract. The contract shall provide that the Inspector General may not represent a political party or be on any executive committee thereof, or seek public office during his or her term of service or for four (4) years thereafter. The foregoing limitation does not include seeking selection as Inspector General for a subsequent term. The contract shall further provide that the Inspector General may not be a lobbyist, as defined in Broward County ordinances or Florida law for two years after term of service.
E. Physical Facilities and Staff.
(1) The County shall provide the Office of Inspector General with appropriately located office space and sufficient physical facilities together with necessary office supplies, equipment and furnishings to enable the Inspector General to perform his or her functions.
(2) The Inspector General shall have the power to appoint, employ, and remove such assistants, employees and personnel, and establish personnel procedures as deemed necessary for the efficient and effective administration of the activities of the Office of Inspector General.
F. Procedure for
Finalization of Investigation, Reports and Recommendations which make findings as to the person or entity being reviewed or inspected. The Inspector General shall publish and deliver finalized reports and recommendations to the Broward County Board of County Commissioners all Local Governments and the offices represented on the Selection Committee referenced in this act. Notwithstanding any other provision of this act, whenever the Inspector General determines that it is appropriate to publish and deliver a report or recommendation which contains findings as to the person or entity being reported on or who is the subject of the recommendation, the Inspector General shall provide the affected person or entity a copy of the report or recommendation. Such person or entity shall have fifteen (15) working days to submit a written explanation or rebuttal of the findings before the report or recommendation is finalized. Such timely submitted written explanation or rebuttal shall be attached to the finalized report or recommendation. The requirements of this subsection shall not apply when the Inspector General, in conjunction with the State Attorney or U.S. Attorney, determines that supplying the affected person or entity with such report will jeopardize a pending criminal investigation.
A complaint received by the Office of Inspector General shall be held in abeyance; where the complaint is received against a person who is running for Local Government office and the complaint is received within sixty (60) days of the date of the election. The complaint shall be abated until the last election for that Local Government office has been determined.
G. Notwithstanding anything contained in the general law to the contrary, the State Attorney may in his discretion prosecute ordinance violations relating to ethics which have been enacted by Broward County without an agreement between his office and Broward County.
H. Reporting. The Inspector General shall annually prepare and publish a written report concerning the work and activities of the Office of Inspector General including, but not limited to, statistical information regarding the disposition of closed investigations, audits and other reviews. The annual report of the Inspector General shall be posted promptly on Broward County’s public website.
I. Financial Support and Budgeting. Each Local Government covered by this act shall be responsible for the funding of the Broward County Office of Inspector General. Pursuant to its annual budget process, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners shall provide sufficient financial support for the Inspector General’s Office to fulfill its duties as set forth in this act. In order to ensure adequate funding for the prompt establishment of the Inspector General, the Board of County Commissioners of Broward County shall approve an amount equal to $200,000.00 to fund all Inspector General related operations for the remainder of the 2010 – 2011 fiscal year. The Inspector General shall timely deliver to the Board of County Commissioners a budget including a reasonable estimate of operating and capital expenditures of the Inspector General’s Office and shall include revenues, including, but not limited to, projected IG contract fee revenue to be collected from the County and any other participating local governments and public agencies. The Inspector General’s budget shall not be implemented until a public hearing is held by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners. The Inspector General shall establish a fiscal year which coincides with that of Broward County. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to prohibit the Inspector General from transmitting to the Broward County Board of County Commissioners supplemental budget requests, which shall be scheduled for a public hearing and if approved by the Commission, shall constitute amendments to the county budget.
The amount of each Local Government within Broward County shall be added for a total amount. The percentage that each Local Government’s budget represents to the total budget amount shall be the percentage for which each Local Government shall be responsible to fund the Office of Inspector General. The Charter Government of Broward County provides a procedure in which each Local Government shall remit a Local Government’s share to Broward County in order to fund the Office of Inspector General. Full payment from each Local Government shall be made to Broward County within ninety (90) days of the enactment of the budget of Broward County or any amendment to the budget of Broward County representing funding for the Office of Inspector General.
J. Removal. The Inspector General may be removed only for cause based upon specified charges of the following: neglect of duty, abuse of power or authority, discrimination, or ethical misconduct. The removal process shall be initiated at a duly noticed public hearing of the Selection Committee. An affirmative vote of three members of the Selection Committee shall be required to present the Inspector General with the charges and to proceed to final public hearings. The Selection Committee shall transmit a copy of the charges to the Inspector General at least sixty (60) days prior to all final public hearings which shall be convened by the Selection Committee. The Inspector General shall have an opportunity to be heard in person and by counsel at the final public hearings prior to the votes being taken on his or her removal. The Inspector General may only be removed upon the affirmative vote of all members of the Selection Committee. A record of the proceedings, together with the charges and findings thereon, shall be filed with the County Administrator of Broward County. The Inspector General shall be removed without a public hearing in the event the Inspector General is convicted of or enters a guilty plea or nolo contendere plea to a state or federal felony.
K. Both the Office of Inspector General and the Selection Committee created by this act shall be deemed a part of the Charter government of Broward County and expect as provided herein shall be subject to all regularly enacted ordinances, rules, regulations, policies and procedures of Broward County.
Section 4. The Broward County Board of County Commissioners shall schedule a special referendum election on the date of the general election of 2016 in accordance with the terms of the laws pertaining to elections. The item that shall appear on the ballot shall be the question that is provided in section 5 of this act. This act shall expire and be of no force and effect on the date after the general election of November 2016 unless a ballot question placed on said ballot as provided herein has been approved by voters, voting in said election.
Section 5. The Broward County Board of County Commissioners shall schedule a special referendum election on the date of the general election of 2010 in accordance with the terms of the laws pertaining to elections. The item that shall appear on the ballot shall be as follows:
Creation of the Broward County Office of Inspector General
Shall there be created the Broward County Office of Inspector General, appointed by an independent committee and funded by Broward
County Local Governments? The Inspector General shall detect misconduct involving abuse, corruption, fraud, or violation of ordinances, State or Federal statutes or State or Federal Constitutions by elected and appointed officers and , employees and contractors of Broward County Charter Government Broward County, the School District, the Constitutional Officers and, all independent districts operating solely within Broward County.
Section 6. This act shall take effect upon approval by a majority vote of those qualified electors of Broward County voting in the referendum provided for in this act on November 2, 2010, except that this section and Section
45 shall take effect upon becoming a law.