Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis popularized the phrase, “Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Electric light is the best policeman." In the past year, a third of Cincinnati City Council has either been indicted or convicted of crimes involving bribery related to their votes on Council. Justice Brandeis' words are as true today as they were over 100 years ago.
Cincinnati was the first major city to use the Council/City Manager form of government, and it has served the city well. Under this system, Cincinnati went from one of the most corrupt cities in the United States to one of the best run.
But no form of government will protect a city if the individuals elected to positions of power are corrupt. Members of the current Council have made proposals to substantially change the City Charter to address this issue. A blue ribbon task force has been empaneled to investigate solutions to the corruption concerning developers "paying to play."
The people of Cincinnati need to elect people that they can trust to do the city’s business with the city’s best interests in mind, not their own, whether those interests be pecuniary or amassing personal political power. In my opinion, our Charter does not need significant change, although I do support a change allowing a Council member to be removed from office if they are charged with a felony level crime.
The Administrative Code of the City of Cincinnati provides for an Internal Audit Department that focuses on performance audits of the city's various departments. This Department has been diminished and devalued over the years. This must change. The internal auditors will look at aspects of the department and attempt to eliminate the opportunity for theft and improve the processes by which the city department does its work.
In my previous term, I brought the audit function back to Council. The Internal Audit Department, along with the city’s then-newly formed data analytics department, regularly reported to the city’s Rules and Audit Committee that I chaired. Other than setting the policies by which the city operates through the enactment of the budget, the audit function is the most important function that the City Council can do. We attempted to bring sunshine to the workings of city government, to make it more effective and more efficient.