IWAS DISAPPOINTED when Mayor Nutter decided to pile on with his recent criticism of the Ethics Commission following Councilwoman Marian Tasco's.

The mayor suggested that the independent commission should have used his inspector general or someone else to review the actions of the commission's executive director. That's bad news because the mayor of all people should know how fragile new reforms can be and the weight of his words can help undermine those reforms and give the wrong signals to those who would like the commission to disappear.

We are obviously forgetting our history if we are becoming super-critical of an agency whose executive director voluntarily ratted on himself for a relatively minor discretion and then his board investigated the incident with the help of outside counsel and fined him $500 - about the midrange of other fines the agency has levied.

Has a city agency or its executive director ever acted in that spirit? I can't recall any instance. No one is suggesting that the commission's actions are beyond scrutiny, but let's remember what we now have compared to what we once had. Let's make sure it has the opportunity to be fully rooted before we start taking unnecessary and gratuitous whacks at it.

Phil Goldsmith