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Ethics Board pick confirmed

Mayor Nutter's latest pick for the Philadelphia Board of Ethics was confirmed by City Council this morning.

The Rev. Damon Jones Sr, pastor of Bible Way Baptist Church in West Philadelphia, appeared sympathetic to Council complaints that the Ethics Board is too focused on penalizing elected officials for ethics missteps, which sometimes involve technical issues. In testimony before a Council committee prior to the vote, Jones said he would focus on preventing ethics violations with education to avoid recent controversies.

"There's supposed to be a training component that should be...rather intense, so we can be proactive rather than reactive," Jones said.

Jones was the second person nominated for the same spot. Businessman Edward Kung withdrew his nomination after Council questioned whether he understood the role of the board and the issues that Council had with it. Jones served on the Ethics Board once before, from late 2001 to mid-2004, when the panel functioned solely as an advisory group to Mayor John F. Street.

Jones was nominated for the Ethics Board again by Street in late 2007, when the former mayor had just 30 days left in office. Nutter at the time backed his own pick, former federal prosecutor Kenya Mann, for the job.

He was recommended for approval at a Committee of the Whole meeting before Council's regular meeting, and then unanimously approved by the full Council.

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