City Board of Ethics under fire over finance rules

    Tensions between Philadelphia City Council and the city’s Ethics Board could prevent the reappointment of a board member.

    Tensions between Philadelphia City Council and the city’s Ethics Board could prevent the reappointment of a board member.

    Council spent several hours grilling ethics board member Kenya Mann during a hearing today.

    [audio:100309SPETHICS.mp3]

    City Council created the independent board of ethics in 2006. But today Council members said they’re frustrated with how the panel enforces the city’s campaign finance and financial disclosure laws.

    Several Council members have come under scrutiny by the board. Councilwoman Marian Tasco told Mann, that the ethics board, and staff members, have sanctioned and fined council members without informing them of the rules.


    Tasco:

    And what you’re hearing here is the frustration of many who had to participate in the gotcha moment because they were diddy boppin’ along following state law. And your staff interpreted the rule the way they wanted, and when challenged we were told we couldn’t get to the board.

    Mann says she never meant to unfairly target council members.

    Mann:
    I don’t sit in a board meeting, executive session or otherwise and look to ‘I gotcha.” I after years in public service understand the public perception when allegations are made.

    On this point, Council members seemed to disagree. They did not move on Mann’s reappointment yet gave preliminary approval to two new board applicants.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.