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Walsh appoints four to serve on new ethics panel

Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston, fulfilling a promise he made during his inaugural address, announced the formation of an Ethics Committee Thursday that will implement new financial-disclosure statements for city employees and review any changes to the city’s ethics policy.

Walsh appointed four people to serve on the committee, which is being led by Eugene L. O’Flaherty, the city’s corporation counsel. O’Flaherty served alongside the mayor as a state representative.

Also named to the panel were Elissa Flynn-Poppey, a partner with the law firm Mintz Levin and chairwoman of the firm’s Government Law Practice Group; Peter Sturges, an attorney and former executive director of the State Ethics Commission; and J. Keith Motley, chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston.


“They will work diligently to reassess our internal policies and procedures,” Walsh said in a statement.

The committee will also be responsible for creating continuing education programs on ethics and examining existing practices and procedures, the mayor’s office said.

Walsh, who led the House Committee on Ethics, described the new committee as a fulfillment of a campaign pledge to establish “an even stronger culture of ethical behavior and transparency” in city government.

“The citizens of Boston and those who interact with our government should be absolutely confident that their government is working for them at the highest ethical standards,” he said.

Flynn-Poppey said Walsh wants the committee to focus on developing new financial disclosure statements and implementing training and education programs on ethics for city employees.

The committee will look at options for filing financial disclosure statements electronically and examining who in city government should be required to submit the forms, Flynn-Poppey said.

Walsh also wants to ensure that people working at all levels of city government, from Cabinet members to volunteers who serve on boards and commissions, are well versed in the ethics policies they must adhere to, she said.


She added that Walsh wants the committee to act quickly to develop its recommendations.

,Those who work for the city are also bound by the state’s conflict-of-interest law, Sturges said. The law prohibits employees from asking for or taking bribes, misusing their post, self-dealing or nepotism, and other types of conduct.

“The mayor is committed to having high appropriate ethical standards and transparency and also providing the education that . . . we need to comply with the law,” Sturges said.

Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@
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