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San Diego’s Ethics Commission Given Power Boost

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Aired 4/19/09

San Diego City’s Ethics Commission will have expanded powers, under a change approved Monday by the city council. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

The Ethics Commission will now be able to take the initiative to open investigations rather than waiting for someone to file a complaint. Executive Director Stacey Fullhorst says until now, few have been willing to come forward with complaints against elected officials because they couldn’t do so anonymously. As a result she says, the public has criticized the Commission for not investigating many issues.

Fullhorst: So we’re either not taking the action that they expect, or we’re not taking it in a timely manner. Enabling us to initiate our own complaints would ensure that we are handling our enforcement effectively and evenhandedly.

Fullhorst says the Commission will only follow up complaints based on facts, not speculation. The Ethics Commission was created by former mayor Dick Murphy. Until now, it has had only one full-time investigator, but Fullhorst says a second has been approved, allowing the commission to take on more cases. Alison St John, KPBS News.

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