Orange County, FL - Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs just completed one of her top priorities, a three pronged overhaul of Orange County ethics policies. "I made a commitment that Orange County Government would be transparent, responsive and accountable to its citizens,"said Mayor Jacobs. "These are important steps to help restore citizens’ trust in government."
Phase I of Mayor Jacobs’ initiative was to create the position of Chief Accountability Officer (CAO) and to place the Office of Professional Standards and Risk Management under the CAO.
Phase II was accomplished in June when the Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved changes to the county’s Ethics Code, tightening disclosure rules to require full reporting of business relationships that could develop conflicts of interest.
The final phase of the mayor’s ethics overhaul was to assign Chase Smith, Aide to the Mayor, the title of Ombudsman. Mr. Smith has done an excellent job in acting in this capacity since February 2011. His duties include fielding inquiries, suggestions and complaints (including Whistleblower complaints) from both citizens and employees and, depending upon their nature, referring them to management, the Office of Professional Standards or the Comptroller for further evaluation and action. Complaints filed under the Local Code of Ethics, which must be handled independent of county government, will be referred to an independent investigator.