Report: City Council Members Have Been No-Shows for Ethics Training

The yearly training sessions have been required since 2006 – but no Council members have gone regularly, according to the Inquirer.

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Philadelphia City Council members aren’t attending the mandatory yearly ethics training sessions required by city law, according to an Inquirer report. 

The newspaper found that no Council members who have served for at least five years – 12 members total – have attended the classes more than twice. The sessions have been required for all elected officials since the creation of the Ethics Board in 2006.

That’s in part because the board has failed to stoke attendance, the newspaper found. Jane Roh, a spokesperson for Council President Darrell Clarke, told the Inquirer that it’s the responsibility of the Ethics Board to enforce meeting attendance – but the Ethics Board didn’t hold a single training session in 2015, according to the newspaper, and many City Council members claimed they were unaware of training sessions.

One Council member – Kenyatta Johnson – was so unfamiliar with the requirement that he introduced a bill last week that would make it mandatory for Council members to attend ethics training sessions once every four years. After he was made aware of the existing policy, he reportedly said he would amend the bill.

In 2016, only five Council members reportedly attended an ethics meeting, and all of them were newly-elected.

Shane Creamer, the board’s executive director, told the newspaper that meetings typically address various parts of the city’s ethics law – including codes regarding gifts and financial disclosure – issues that some local politicians seem to have trouble with. Creamer reportedly said that the board hasn’t “felt it’s necessary to go back and pick out individuals who may not have attended in a given year.”

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