PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia city officials swore in 36 “integrity officers” in a City Hall ceremony on Wednesday. That’s one for every city department. Their job is to fight corruption in city government.
If you’re an Eagles fan who’s tired of jokes about booing Santa, imagine what it’s like to be a city employee trying to shed that century-old label “corrupt and contented.” Mayor Kenney says that’s why integrity officers are so important.
“This is not just ratting people out, so to speak,” Kenney said. “This is about money that comes out of people’s pockets who work hard to pay their taxes and we need to safeguard that money and make sure it goes to services.”
Some of their colleagues don’t make it easy. Inspector General Amy Kurland says, last year, 33 people were fired and 44 others disciplined for ethics breaches, but she says that shows the officers are working.
“Things have changed enormously in the city,” Kurland said. “We’re policing ourselves and cleaning our own house and that’s what gives confidence to people who their government is actually working.”
Kurland says her office saved or recovered $9-million, more than four times its budget.