In reading about Nassau County’s financial disclosure rules, I was dismayed to discover that the five members of the Board of Ethics, each appointed to five-year terms, are all men [“Digital financial disclosure a step to cut Nassau abuse,” News, March 30].
Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong proponent of measures to limit corruption and create greater transparency in government. However, if you want people to have confidence in our governmental institutions and you want those institutions to function effectively, they must reflect the communities they serve.
The board advises county officials on issues of ethics. In this era of #MeToo, there is growing awareness that even well-intentioned people often don’t understand the context of power that allows for the mistreatment of members of certain groups, including women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals and more.
There also is strong research that the best decision-making is done by groups that are heterogeneous, so we would be best served by a board whose members bring diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Until entities such as the board no longer embody the old-boy network, they will be unable to fully and effectively do what the legislature has empowered them to do, and they will not inspire the confidence of those they are intended to serve.