There’s a reason that the “business as usual” city officials are complaining about the Inspector General Scott. He’s doing his job right. Holding them accountable.
There’s a reason that members of the Broward “political machine” are suggesting that the Inspector General have oversight from or report to the Broward County Commission… they can control the commission, but they can’t control the IG’s office.
There’s a reason that many established Broward politicians, and politicos are nervous, because the IG’s job is to bring transparency to Broward governance while simultaneously rooting out corruption, and much of the politics of Broward County strives for obfuscation and thrives on malfeasance, graft, and jobbery. An independent watchdog with a very big flashlight makes them nervous.
At the annual performance evaluation for the Inspector General’s Office, Inspector General John Scott and his general counsel, Jennifer Merino, met both complaint and compliment with the calm confidence that has been the hallmark of Scott’s administration since his appointment in 2011.
Those in attendance of the evaluation meeting consisted of the review committee, journalists, elected officials (both currently serving and former), and lobbyists. The complaints, no surprise, came primarily from the elected officials, some of whom have found themselves the subject of scrutiny, either directly or indirectly, as the IG investigations have progressed in the past year.
Whether it has been the detailed and ongoing investigation into the Community Redevelopment Agencies in many of Broward County cities, or the inquires and identifications of questionable spending practices, the IG’s office is making progress shining the light on less-than-ethical practices.
One of the more interesting complaints lodged against the IG was that those being investigated were not informed of the investigation. So, by the logic of the complainant (an elected official), in order to catch someone doing something wrong, you should first TELL the person that you are going to be watching them to see if they do the wrong thing. Yeah.
Perhaps the elected officials should be given a question as well, to wit: “If there is no wrongdoing, why do you have a problem with that being verified?” Elected officials and their administration are elected to serve the public, and to be good stewards of their constituent’s interests both fiscal (taxes) and issue-based. Since it has become glaringly apparent that more than one elected official in Broward County is incapable of self-regulation, so the practical (and effective) alternative is to have accountability ensured by an outside officer.
The cities of Broward County are benefiting from the watchful eye of John Scott and his staff, and hopefully that vigilant gaze will soon be turned (if it has not already) upon a few of the higher offices in Broward County, examining the sometimes shadowy and sometimes blatantly quid pro quo relationships between county commission and state legislature, county commission and lobbyist, county commission and businesses, and county commission betwixt it’s commissioners.
There is often little to cheer about in the actions and machinations of Broward County politicians and their agendas, but the dedication and determination with which Inspector General Scott and his staff are working to root out the bad practices and questionable actions of Broward’s elected officials is definitely something to applaud (if not give a standing ovation).