New Yorkers can bid a not-so-fond farewell to the Joint Fee on Public Ethics. The state ethics watchdog, which was deeply hobbled by its members’ ties to the lawmakers who appointed them, held its final assembly Tuesday. Good riddance.
JCOPE’s 11-year tenure was marked by in-fighting and could never be taken seriously (it was derisively referred to as JJOKE) as a verify on authorities’s moral lapses. Ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders made positive of that by placing hacks in cost.
And positive sufficient, Cuomo was capable of breeze via an ethically tarred tenure until he was forced out not by JCOPE however by Lawyer Normal Tish James, livid lawmakers and outrage from the general public (together with us).
This 12 months, Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Legislature created a brand new 11-member Fee on Ethics and Lobbying in Authorities, which can change JCOPE starting this month. But the brand new group suffers from the identical primary flaw as its predecessor: the folks its members are presupposed to police — i.e., Hochul, lawmakers and their staffs — are the very ones who’ll appoint them.
Sure, the deans of 15 regulation faculties will now be charged with vetting nominees to guarantee their “undisputed honesty, integrity and character.” And the nominating committee can reject candidates it finds missing.
That’s an enchancment, however the governor and legislative leaders will nonetheless get to decide on the “cops” who’ll police them. Commissioners chosen that means will all the time be tainted by the looks of an absence of independence.
New York deserves higher than to be the nationwide laughingstock it’s lengthy been with regards to its political leaders and their ethics. Alas, if the brand new watchdog suffers from the identical built-in drawback because the outdated one, how can anybody count on moral requirements to be any higher?