While the majority of elected officials are honest, hardworking people, our state suffers because of the few that don’t play by the rules. Whether it be elected officials prioritizing pet projects for big donors over the needs of everyday voters, or misusing taxpayer money for their personal interests, everyone pays the price when our elected representatives do not lead by example.
At the local level, very few of the hundreds of city governments in Texas have effective, independent ethics commissions in place to oversee and regulate city officials and staff.
Currently, Common Cause Texas is working with charter review commissions in several cities across Texas, encouraging them to push for adoption of truly independent ethics commissions.
Our recommendations vary depending on the city but we believe local ethics commissions must have a few key elements, including:
- A budget that is at least partially guaranteed by city charter and not subject to approval by the city officials the commission is supposed to be overseeing;
- A professional staff;
- Strong and clearly defined enforcement powers.
While most politicians get involved in public life to try to make a difference for their community, the need for better oversight and accountability is clear. Texans deserve a fair, transparent process for handling ethics complaints.
Sign the petition in favor of creating independent ethics commissions for local governments across Texas.