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D.C. ethics board expects to open doors to public Nov. 5

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Photo - Robert Spagnoletti (Examiner file photo)
Robert Spagnoletti (Examiner file photo)
Local,Abby Hamblin

The head of the District's new Board of Ethics and Government Accountability said Wednesday that it expects to open its doors to the public on Nov. 5 -- after working to perform a daunting amount of logistics in a short period of time.

"We were handed the mandate to open our doors by Oct. 1," board chairman Robert Spagnoletti said Wednesday. "Of course, at the time there were no doors to open, no staff to rely upon, and no rules to govern how we operate. I am pleased to report that we have made significant progress in implementing the Ethics Act and standing up the board."

At the public hearing held by D.C. Councilwoman Muriel Bowser, chair of the committee on government operations, the Ethics board also announced that newly appointed Director of Government Ethics Darrin Sobin is expected to be officially working full time by Nov. 5. Until then, Sobin will continue on the job at his current position of assistant attorney general with the Legal Counsel Division of the D.C. Attorney General.

The Ethics Board hopes to fill the rest of its staff positions in the next few weeks -- which take some of the set-up load off the board members, Spagnoletti said.

"The burden of coordinating District agencies and services has fallen on the board members, resulting in many, many hours of board work," Spagnoletti said. "That is inconsistent with our part-time positions. With more staff, we should be able to spend less time on logistics and more time on ethics."

On Tuesday, Spagnoletti told The Washington Examiner that the board voted to open a preliminary investigation into Ward 1 Councilman Jim Graham following a report that said be broke Metro's own rules while serving as chairman of the transit agency's board.

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