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Here’s an interesting tidbit lost in the mayor’s big announcement yesterday:

Mayor Jerry Sanders is proposing to essentially shut down the multi-million dollar Office of Ethics and Integrity. The mayor created the office when he was elected and was roundly criticized by friend and foe alike for adding a new level of bureaucracy. The complaint was two-fold: the city was broke and it already had an Ethics Commission.

You might remember my colleague Scott Lewis‘ attempts to spike the office’s creation, a battle he eventually conceded. (I advise clicking on these links for some good background.)

Now, the mayor’s proposal for closing a $43 million budget gap calls for eliminating six positions in the office, including the office’s top two spots. The rest of the positions — which were consolidated under the office when it was initially created — will be redistributed to other departments.

The cuts will trim $690,047 in personnel expenses. The office has a $2.1 million annual budget total. Its leader, Deputy Chief Operating Officer Jo Anne SawyerKnoll, earns an annual salary of $150,000, and the assistant deputy chief earns $90,000. Both of those positions will be eliminated, as well as a “construction estimator” and three executive secretaries.

At least three of those positions were created when the mayor built the office.

Here’s the office’s original mission (which spawned a fun SLOP contest):

The Office of Ethics and Integrity’s mission is to strengthen the City’s Ethical Climate so that HONOR is cherished, personal integrity and ethical courage are the cultural norms and all employees are supported and encouraged to use their judgment and initiative in the conduct of ethical practices in the workplace.

The Ethics Commission, the independent body that enforces city ethics and campaign laws, loses one position under the mayor’s proposal.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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