Bring Back Grandeau
There’s never been a more thorough unmasking of a government body than that which occurred with the state Inspector General’s review of the Public Integrity Commission last year. In a report dated May 13, 2009, the IG exposed misconduct by the former executive director of the commission and a cover up of that misconduct by the commission itself.
Commission members, all people with stellar resumes, were shameless and defiant after this report was issued. They pretended that the whole thing was a big misunderstanding and that, except for a few minor errors in judgment by the former executive director, everything was fine.
The Governor called for their resignations en masse, but in classic Paterson fashion, he later dropped the demand. The state legislature voted twice to eliminate the commission and replace it with a new entity developed with the assistance of good government groups, but in classic Paterson fashion, he vetoed the measure in the hope of getting something more sweeping. He got nothing.
As a result, the original commission has survived. Commission members, who bear responsibility for completely undermining ethics law enforcement in New York, have gotten away with it.
Almost, that is. There’s still an opportunity to hold the commission accountable and to reform the system. It’s a stunningly simple solution. All the governor has to do is appoint David Grandeau to fill the opening left by the death of commission member James King.
Why Grandeau? It’s because he’s nobody’s friend. He’s nobody’s political pal. He’s a maverick. And he’s a self-described stubborn, independent SOB and proud of it.
With Grandeau on the commission, you can bet there’ll be no gentleman’s agreements on matters of integrity. You can bet he’d howl at any real or perceived conflict of interest. You can bet that if there are skeletons in the commission closet, they’ll be revealed.
Of course Grandeau will make other members of the commission uncomfortable. And that’s yet another good reason to appoint him.