CPI Staffers Told to Report on Monday. Where/When is JCOPE?
December 9th, 2011
Sources tell me that the remaining staffers at the Commission on Public Integrity are no longer unsure about whether they should report to work on Monday. Their supervisors have told them to show up on Monday. Yes, up until today staffers were not sure whether they would be employed come Monday.
Perhaps the staffers will help start the new ethics watchdog–the Joint Commission on Public Ethics but I am told the more likely reason the CPI will exist on Monday is because JCOPE won’t
If CPI still exists on Monday where is the Joint Commisison on Public Ethics and when will it be revealed?
The bill says that JCOPE will come into existence 120 days after the bill was signed. The bill was signed on August 15 so JCOPE should technically start early next week.
However, I have been told that the Cuomo administration believes that legally CPI will continue to exist until until JCOPE is officially functional. Here is the relevant part of the law: “The JCOPE shall be fully operational on or before the 120th day after this act shall have become a law and until such time as it becomes operational (a) the state CPI shall deposit all records in its possession with the inspector general and (b) the LEC shall continue to exercise such functions, powers, obligations and duties to be transferred to the JCOPE;…”
I suppose it can be read that CPI exists until JCOPE does. I have been trying to ask the Cuomo administration about when JCOPE will be unveiled and whether it is in fact their position that the CPI will continue to exist until they get JCOPE together but my many calls and emails have been ignored. Good government groups say they aren’t worried if JCOPE isn’t ready exactly on Monday or Tuesday.
Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union (Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation the sister organization to the Citizens Union) Said that he is not concerned if there is a small gap between the 120 day deadline and the start of JCOPE. “I expect the governor will apply the law and meet the required deadline,” said Dadey adding. “A couple days won’t hurt.”
What could the hold up be? Legislative sources tell me that all conferences have made their picks. Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb told me he had made his pick a month or so ago. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos told me on Wednesday,”“We have our people and I think we will announce it in a timely fashion when governor’s office is ready.” Other sources have confirmed that the Senate Minority and Assembly Majority have also made their picks to serve on the commission so that leaves the governor’s office.
What is holding them up? Russ Haven of the New York Public Interest Group says that he has been told it has been a struggle to find people who want to serve on JCOPE.
“It seems they (the Cuomo administration) are scrambling to lock people in,” said Haven. “With the spotlight that has been on the CPI for the last 4 years it might be less attractive to some folks. But we really hope they look outside of the usual suspects—connected lawyers and the like.”
*Update* Numerous sources tell me they have been tentatively told to expect an unveiling of JCOPE on Thursday of next week.By David King on December 9, 2011, 11:13 am
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