A new ethics code being drafted for Broward County commissioners amid a growing corruption scandal will rein in their influence and require greater disclosure of their business dealings.
A task force assigned with writing a code of conduct agreed Thursday to ban commissioners from moonlighting as lobbyists and limit their control over what companies win county contracts. They'd have to disclose any contact with lobbyists on county business and their fundraising on behalf of charities and political campaigns.
"People expect us to eliminate much of the perception that is out there," task force member Kenneth Fink said.
The task force is rushing to meet a March 2 deadline to submit an ethics code to the commission. The commission must then approve the proposal or place it on the November ballot for voters to decide.
The commission has faced years of criticism over members working as lobbyists who represent clients before other local governments. Former Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion, who resigned in January after pleading guilty to corruption charges, was once fined $2,500 by the state Ethics Commission for voting in 2002 on a trash deal while he was a lobbyist for the company.
The task force agreed to ban commissioners from serving on selection committees that evaluate bids and choose contractors.
Under rules they wrote for themselves, commissioners often pack those purchasing panels. Big-ticket deals like who should build an airport runway become heavily lobbied by contractors and lobbyists who are key sources of campaign cash to commissioners.
Scott Wyman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4511.