1. BAN NEPOTISM THROUGHOUT CITY GOVERNMENT
No elected or appointed City employee should make, or recommend
that anyone else in the government make, any personnel decisions
relating to City employment that involve a member of his or her family.
2. MAKE GIFT RESTRICTIONS PERMANENT
Enact a permanent restriction on accepting, giving or offering
gifts, services, gratuities or favors of any significant value –
applicable to all City employees and to outside individuals and firms
that interact with City employees – that contains unambiguous rules on
what can and cannot be accepted, given or offered, reasonable minimum
thresholds, clear reporting requirements and strong penalties.
3. ENACT LOBBYIST REFORM
Lobbyists, and individuals acting as lobbyists, who represent
clients who are engaged in business with or before the City,
City-related departments, agencies and commissions and quasi-agencies
and authorities, should register with the Board of Ethics, identify
their clients and make their lobbying-related expenses public.
4. REVIEW CAMPAIGN FINANCE
This year’s first test of the City’s campaign finance ordinance
exposed loopholes and missing pieces, such as unregulated racial and
religious attacks by stealth groups. The Mayor should adhere early on to
his promise of convening an independent panel to recommend reforms
consistent with best practices in the country and what makes sense for
5. OPEN CITY RECORDS
City documents should be available online so they can be easily
accessed, readable and searchable. Absent clear evidence produced by the
government that disclosure would violate legitimate privacy rights, all
documents should be presumed to be a matter of public record.
6. REGULATE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE CITY AND NON-PROFITS
A list of all non-profit organizations that receive City funds
should be made easily available to the public, along with the names of
their key officers and directors, the amount of funds received, the
process by which those funds are awarded and how the funds will be
In addition, all elected City officials who directly or indirectly
control a non-profit tax-exempt organization should be required to
disclose to the Board of Ethics the name of the organization, its
purpose and all its funding sources.
7. CONTROL OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT
No salaried City employee should be permitted to hold a paid
position with an outside firm that does, or is actively seeking, City
business, with reasonable exceptions such as teaching at educational
institutions or as otherwise approved in advance by the Board of Ethics.
8. MORE FREQUENT CAMPAIGN FINANCE DISCLOSURE
Because state law requires elected officials to provide infrequent
reports of their contributions and spending, the Mayor and Council
members should voluntarily make this information more regularly
available to the public both during election and non-election years.
9. PROHIBIT CAMPAIGN ACTIVITY BY COUNCIL STAFF
City Council employees should be treated like other City officials
and employees under the City Charter and prohibited from campaigning for
candidates in elections and working for a political party.
10. CREATE GROUND RULES FOR EXERCISING COUNCILMANIC
City Council should place reasonable limits on the unwritten
practice known as “councilmanic prerogative” that permits a District
Council member to have unbridled authority over projects in his or her
district. While this power can be used positively, it can also lead to
Reforming city government is a complicated and dynamic process. The
Committee of Seventy urges the next Mayor, members of City Council and
the public to help us continuously expand this set of ideas.
This list was issued October 31, 2007.