Professor John Kincaid, Director of the Robert B. and Helen S. Meyner Center for the Study of State and Local Government, moderated “A Community Discussion on Ethics Ordinances for Bethlehem” at the Bethlehem, PA, City Hall on November 17, 2016 at 7:00-8:35 p.m. Residents heard from and questioned Leigh M. Chapman, Director of Policy for Pennsylvania’s Department of State; Brian D. Jacisin, Deputy Executive Director of Pennsylvania’s State Ethics Commission; J. Shane Creamer, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Board of Ethics; Michael J. Cooke, Director of Enforcement for the Philadelphia Board of Ethics; and Julio A. Guridy, Director of Contract Compliance Programs for the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission and member of Allentown’s city council.
Kincaid opened the forum by stressing the importance of ethics in government and the value of an ordinance for providing guidelines for public servants and enforcement against unethical behavior. Chapman discussed Governor Tom Wolf’s ethics initiative. Jacisin, Creamer, and Cooke explained the content, administration, and enforcement of Pennsylvania’s and Philadelphia’s ethics laws. Guridy discussed Allentown’s ethics initiative spurred by the FBI’s investigation of the city’s government. A lively discussion then considered how Bethlehem might benefit from adopting an ethics ordinance.
The forum was co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Northampton County and the South Side Initiative of Bethlehem.