By JEFF SCHULTZ
The Porter County
Board of Commissioners took a first step in becoming part of the Shared
Ethics Advisory Commission.
Commissioners voted in favor of joining the Commission as was suggested by
Commissioner Laura Blaney, D-South, during the board’s meeting on Tuesday.
“I think the public
really needs to know that this is important to us,” she said.
The Commission is
open to units of government from Lake, Porter and LaPorte Counties.
According to the Commission’s website, the Porter County Commissioners would
be the first governing body from Porter County to join. Current members
include Crown Point, Dyer, East Chicago, Gary, Highland, Hobart, LaPorte
County, Lowell, Munster, Schererville and Whiting.
sharedethics.com, says the groups share in a code of ethics that revolve
around a few sets of foundational values
- Honesty and Integrity; Respect
and Civility; Accountability and Responsibility; Fairness and Justice.
Blaney said she
would like for officials and employees to have easy access to information
whenever they have a question about ethics.
“I want to make it
clear to the public and our employees that ethical government is a priority
in Porter County,” she said.
will pay $5,000 the first year of membership and $3,000 for each year after,
which will be used for training, supplies and public awareness of government
ethics. The funding will be paid out of the Commissioners’ budget for
special projects. Fees are based on the population of which a governing
Blaney said she has
been in contact with Commission president Cal Bellamy as to what is required
in being a member. The Commission meets once every two months.
A call to join the
Commission was made three months ago by County Council member Jeremy Rivas,
D-2nd, after he told his peers on the Council he felt targeted by the
Commissioners in the Council redistricting process which resulted in him
being removed from his Portage district.
Blaney did not
mention if that or any other incident motivated her to propose join the
Commission but did say it had to do with “everything that’s been going on
She said now, more
than ever, the public needs to know that government can be trusted.