Mayor Nutter yesterday called on the city's Board of Ethics to reexamine how it handled a recent ethical transgression by executive director Shane Creamer, and City Councilwoman Marian Tasco demanded that Creamer be fired.
The Board of Ethics rejected them both, saying it has "full confidence in the integrity and effectiveness" of Creamer.
Creamer was fined $500 last month by the board for talking with a reporter about an investigation before it was concluded.
Tasco called that fine a "slap on the wrist."
She also criticized the board for releasing the results of its investigation late on the Friday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend, "surely when they thought no one would notice."
"How can we enforce ethics laws when there is a two-tiered standard of ethics, one for the board and one for everyone else?" asked Tasco in a speech during Council's weekly session.
The board responded, saying it had "handled this manner in a proper and even-handed manner." The board hired an outside attorney to examine the case after Creamer turned himself in to the board.
Nutter echoed Tasco's concerns, adding that he was surprised to hear that the board had investigated its own employee. He said the board should have referred the matter to the city's inspector general or some other agency.
"I think the board needs to revisit the entire situation," Nutter said. "I think it is still a matter that should be looked at more thoroughly by an outside entity."
Richard Glazer, the board's chairman, said it would be "clearly inappropriate" for the inspector general to investigate because the city charter assigns that duty to the Board of Ethics.
"We are satisfied with the nature and scope and results of our evaluation," Glazer concluded. "We prepared to move on."
Creamer yesterday said he has no intention of resigning.
"I'm proud of the work we do at the board," he said. "And I'm also proud of our accomplishments."
Tasco yesterday also called on Nutter to rescind his appointment of Edward Kung to a Board of Ethics seat that has been vacant since October.
Tasco said she "didn't sense there was support in the Council for Mr. Kung" after his appearance last month at a confirmation hearing.
That hearing came one week after Creamer revealed to the board and to the Seth Williams campaign that he had an off-the record conversation with a reporter on May 7 about an ongoing investigation of Williams.
Williams agreed on May 12 to pay a $3,750 fine for campaignfinance-reporting errors. He won the May 19 Democratic primary election for district attorney.
During Kung's May 14 Council hearing, Tasco pressed him for his thoughts on Board of Ethics employees speaking with reporters about active investigations.
"I have to plead ignorance," Kung replied. "I don't know how the Board of Ethics operates."
Nutter yesterday said Tasco and Council President Anna Verna had suggested he nominate someone to replace Kung.
"I will take their concerns into consideration," said Nutter, who pushed as a councilman the 2005 the legislation to create an independent Board of Ethics. *