Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ethics Board Hearing Today

The Trib's Jeremy Boren previews the hearing concerning Mayor Ravenstahl and the celebrity golf outing afforded him by the Penguins and UPMC.

"It's very unclear to me that they have any ability to sanction anyone at all, from a rookie cop up to the mayor," [Assistant City Solicitor Kate] DeSimone said.

How does she get that??

[Board Chair Sister Patrice] Hughes and board members Rabbi Daniel Schiff and Kathy Buechel have said publicly that they believe Ravenstahl might have violated the city's ethics code, which hurts their impartiality, DeSimone said. "If I were the mayor's attorney, I would ask for all three of them to be recused," DeSimone said.

For saying he might have violated the code? How can one justify holding a public hearing, without acknowledging there might have been a violation?

DeSimone believes the most the board could do is ask for an investigation into the mayor's conduct. If that request is made, it's likely a special investigator would be needed. She said that Acting City Solicitor George Specter said July 13 that Ravenstahl did not commit an ethical violation.

These guys are committed to playing hardball.


  1. So the city's website says:

    Description: This Board investigates allegations of misconduct on the part of elected officials or municipal employees. There are five members. Two members of this Board are nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by Council. The Mayor also is responsible for filling the three remaining posts from a list of nine candidates supplied by Council, which must then vote to approve the selections.

    Did anyone else see the word mayor in there?

  2. If there is 'no way in hell' that the person in question made an ethics violation -- then it would be the duty of the ethics hearing board to NOT hold a hearing. The board needs to act in a prudent way and not bring folly to a hearing. So, the board has a duty to screen based upon the early brush with the case.

    One or some on the board believe the charged (in this case, Luke) might have violated the city's ethics code, so a hearing is called.

    Without "might" then there is no hearing.

    Without 'belief' in 'might' -- the saga ends.

    Trust is what gives impartiality. Trust of an open mind. Further, another aid to impartiality comes from who is selected to the board. Jokers are NOT put onto the board. Square citizens known for integrity are hand picked to serve in those roles.

    Luke picked some board members. Luke can't question impartiality of the board members -- because that is a knock on himself for picking those members.

    If the board's impartiality is questioned -- the the biggest question falls upon those who picked the board's members and those who approved them (city council too).

  3. Humm.... from the more recent post it might seem as if there was not a formal complaint put into the ethics hearing board.

    Would love to know how this began.

    Perhaps an ethics hearing board member started the process him/herself.


    Proactive is so rare on Grant Street. Could it be true?

  4. The board, specifically Chairwoman Hughes, definitely initiated this action herself. I had given her major points for being pro-active ... until it was asserted that maybe she had hamstrung her board's ability to act by doing so.

    No matter. They weren't going to be able to do anything anyway, and its better we had the forum.

  5. Shame on ALL the citizens for not putting in a complaint to the ethics hearing board.

    If people want an ethical town, we'll have to file complaints to the ethics hearing board.