The State Ethics Commission has met four times since its first organizational meeting in October 2017 when the Vermont League of Woman Voter’s appointee Madeline Motta was elected Chair of the Commission.
In June 2017, Act 79 created the State Ethics Commission, and set forth a rigorous schedule for delivery of a variety of ethics programs. The Chair with Commission members has been working hard to meet the timetable. One of the primary tasks was to hire an Executive Director, and that recruiting and hiring process is underway.
Simultaneous with the hiring of an Executive Director, the Ethics Commission is charged with creating a financial disclosure form to be completed by Vermont legislators and elected officials at the beginning of this new legislative session in January 2018. The financial disclosure form is be made assessable through the Ethics Commission website which is also in the design stage.
In March 2018, the Ethics Commission must present a first draft of a State Code of Ethics to the legislature. The Chair, Madeline Motta has tasked some Commission members with researching financial disclosure forms and State ethics codes in use by other State Ethics Commission so that the Commission will be better able to advise the incoming Executive Director.
The Chair has been reaching out to State Government support services to set up the State Ethics Commission Office which was an empty space located at 6 Baldwin Street, Montpelier. This means furnishing the office with a telephone line, computer, printer, furniture, office supplies and a plaque outside the door to be ready for when an Executive director is on board in the coming weeks. As a stand-alone newly created Commission without support staff organizing IT, the office and coordinating other vital services these tasks have fallen to the Chair and Commission members.
It has been a very active three months yet exciting to be on the forefront of implementing a State Ethics program that aims to advance the tenets of fairness and transparency in Vermont State Government.