The Office of Inspector General came first, and like many another reform in city government, it was born as a campaign commitment. When I met with state senator Marc H. Morial in September 1993 to discuss the issues component of his campaign for mayor, ideas poured out of him for an hour and a half, and I took copious notes. “We need an Inspector General,” he said, “and we need Charter Revision”—the two ideas linked from this first campaign convening. When he was elected mayor six months later and inaugurated in May 1994, charter reform became an early and important item of business in his new administration.

This article focuses in Part 1 on the 1994–1995 charter revision process that was the initial vehicle for local ethics reform. Part 2 examines the stuttering, stop-and-go history of implementation after the successful charter revision process—a period during which enactment of formal legal instruments was followed by halting implementation steps, accompanied throughout by the need for further legal instruments to reform and restructure ethics entities. Part 3 draws some considered conclusions, taking a long perspective on the evolution of local ethics reforms.



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