What You Can Do to Support the Ethics Ordinance
– Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for city council members and urge them to pass the ordinance with a Board of Ethics. (sample below)
– Write a letter to the editor (Morning Call, Easton Express, Bethlehem Press)
– Tell your friends, neighbors, etc. about the ethics ordinance.
– Attend City Council meetings when the ordinance will be discussed. Sign up to be notified when the ethics ordinance is on the agenda.
Sample Email or Letter
Subject: Ethics Ordinance for Bethlehem
Dear Ms. Kelchner:
Please distribute my email to the members of the city council.
Dear Members of City Council:
I write to urge you to pass the ordinance sponsored by Council members Negron and Colon – The City of Bethlehem Public Official and City Employee Ethics Act. I support this ordinance because it provides clear and comprehensive guidelines to help public officials and employees to help avoid conflicts of interest. I strongly support the board of ethics that is proposed to administer the ethics program. It is essential that its members be nominated by non-partisan community organizations to assure that it is independent of political interference.
I understand that there is a cost to establishing this program, but it will be less than the cost to taxpayers of misconduct. For example, Allentown cancelled the pay-to-play contract for $3 million once the corrupt process became public and “discovered” that it could do the work in-house for $1 million. Just this one instance revealed the enormous cost to taxpayers from unethical behavior and outright corruption.
Other Points You Can Make
– Ethical misbehavior and actions that create the perception of impropriety damage public trust;
– Democracy suffers when people’s confidence in their government is damaged by ethical scandals;
– Passing an ordinance now in the absence of a scandal is proactive;
– The community needs to feel confident that public officials are not providing special access or preferential treatment; that their government is acting fairly and in the interest of the community and not special interests.