Alliance for Ethical Government disbands after 3 years
By Victor Cruz
After three years of advocating for cleaner government, the Alliance for Ethical Government is closing up shop.
Until the Miami Business Forum, a year-old group expected to pick up the work of the alliance, meets in July, the legacy of the group appears uncertain.
"We are talking to the alliance and are trying to see how we could be helpful in their effort, but no decision has been finalized yet," said Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the forum's chairman.
But University of Miami Chancellor Tad Foote and local business executive Carlos Saladrigas, co-chairmen of the alliance, are confident the forum will take up the mantle.
"The alliance was formed with the understanding that it would 'sunset' after three years and its responsibilities would be passed on to another group," said Mr. Foote.
The offspring of Mesa Redonda, a group of Hispanic business and community leaders who meet monthly to tackle problems affecting South Florida, the alliance was formed to make recommendations to the county, help organizations plan ways of fostering ethical practices and make presentations advocating good business practices.
It has a president, an executive assistant, 26 board members and about 180 volunteer trustees.
During its three-year run that will end June 30, the alliance implemented 25 initiatives. Those included establishing and holding municipalities to a code of business ethics, making the code a part of the contract-procurement process and establishing a code of ethics for elected leaders.
Pending are about 18 problems still left to tackle. And these, said Mr. Saladrigas, are among the alliance's thorniest issues.
Still to be achieved are legislation requiring elected officials to explain big changes in net worth during their terms, creating a state "truth-in-advertising" statute, calling for asset-audits for the time officials are in office and strengthening state enforcement of penalties for campaign fraud and election law irregularities.
A load of procurement reforms also looms large: requiring the publishing of an annual financial report on contracts exceeding $100,000, creating citizens' evaluation teams for contracts of more than $500,000 and switching from low-bid to performance-contracting of local government business.
The group also hoped to depoliticizing the request-for-proposal process, require lobbyist disclosure forms and increase commissioners' salaries.
These initiatives now appear to be falling on the shoulders of the forum, which has about 30 members. The forum has an executive who can provide briefing and do the legwork required to get thing done, Mr. Fain said.
"Clearly everybody in this community wants to improve the confidence in the ethical functioning of our institutions," he said. "and that would benefit our business."