Joe Ganim’s Government Accountability Proposal

As part of his continuing to effort to regain public trust, Bridgeport Mayor (and convicted felon) Joseph P. Ganim announced a proposed ordinance that would create a new municipal Office of Government Accountability, which would report to a three-member commission. According to the mayor’s press release:

The office would serve as a clearing house for complaints related to government performance, including response to constituent inquiries, waste, inefficiency and potential misconduct.  The office would review complaints and make a determination as to whether the issue warrants further investigation or should be referred to another office in city government for action.  The proposed office would also consolidate all Freedom of Information requests and manage timely responses to those requests

Mayor Ganim proposes to name retired FBI agent Edward Adams–who was part of the team of federal investigators and prosecutors that resulted in Ganim’s felony conviction in 2003–to head the new office.

Creating an independent “watchdog” agency to oversee the operations of municipal government is a good idea. The problem with Mayor Ganim’s particular proposal, however, is that he gets to appoint two of the three members of the new commission. That is too much control for the mayor, particular once Adams’ tenure ends. The proposal would be much improved if it gave the City Council the authority to appoint two of the members and the mayor just one.

[On a related note, see my post on Appealingly Brief! concerning whether persons convicted of felonies involving abuse of the public trust while in office should be allowed to run for public office again.]


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