So it took a few weeks, but the wait is over… it’s time to unleash the watchdogs!
Today, we are launching Georgia Ethics Watchdogs and the Georgia Ethics Watchdogs Education Fund.
Georgia Ethics Watchdogs, a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization, will serve as a sentinel, a pundit to shine the light on public officials who cross the line by filing ethics complaints when the ethics in government act is violated. Our goal is to take actions to hold public officials accountable to those who put them in office – the people of our state.
The Georgia Ethics Watchdogs Education Fund, a 501(c)3 charitable and educational nonprofit organization, will work to train citizens and advocates to help them become effective government watchdogs.
The purpose of both is to fill a void that has long existed in Georgia, by creating a singularly focused watchdog organizations. I say that not as a criticism of my former organization, Common Cause Georgia (CCGA), or as a regret of my time as its executive director for almost 5 years. It took time and training with that organization for me to form the opinion that it is nearly impossible to be successful serving simultaneously as a watchdog and as an advocate for public policy. It’s far too difficult to have the good cop and the bad cop under the same roof.
I will cheer from the sideline with great enthusiasm as CCGA continues with some of the issues I worked on while there, as well as forges new territories (and no doubt excel with) in the arena of public policy.
The watchdog side of the work was what I always enjoyed the most, so I wholeheartedly embrace the bad cop role of my new organization and begin its work with renewed excitement. It really is a feeling of being unleashed, so that I’m able to chase down the officials and agencies that are doing a disservice to the citizens they are sworn to serve. With this organization, we don’t have to rely on officials to pass an ethics bill right after I’ve filed a complaint against a legislative leader. I can avoid the frustration of never getting a pay-to-play reform measure passed because its blocked by a mayor who doesn’t like my criticism of his process of awarding government contracts.
I am no longer going to be restrained by dread about not succeeding with public policy. As important as that success is, I’ll leave that to the good cops. I’m unleashed now, and ready to kick down some doors and take some names. I hope you’ll join us!