Group recommends ethics changes for Metro board

Mark Gail/The Washington Post - An independent investigation found that Jim Graham acted improperly when he tried to influence plans to develop a Metro-owned parcel of land.

Buy This Photo

Metro’s revised ethics policy for board members lacks specific sanctions for many violations, an expert review has found.

A director who violates rules regarding a financial conflict of interest can be forced off the board, but the ethics policy is silent on consequences for other ethical transgressions, according to the review, carried out by the the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.

Funding tiff settled, D.C.’s Emancipation Day parade is a go

Next year, the mayor’s office will retain control of the yearly Pennsylvania Avenue event.

D.C. Council weighs ceding power to mayor

Measure would end council votes on scores of multimillion-dollar contracts negotiated each year by mayor.

First gay D.C. mayor? We can wait, some Democrats say.

First gay D.C. mayor? We can wait, some Democrats say.

David Catania would become the city’s first openly gay mayor, but some activists are putting party first.

of precincts reporting

Read more

Resources for your commute

What major overhauls are needed to improve the Metro system?

What major overhauls are needed to improve the Metro system?

CROWD SOURCED | Share your ideas for making the system better. Leave comments and upvote others.

Follow Dr. Gridlock on Twitter

Follow Dr. Gridlock on Twitter

Get the latest news that will affect your commute.

Read more from Dr. Gridlock

Read more from Dr. Gridlock

The blog is your transportation guide to the Beltway and beyond.

More transportation news

Cadwalader conducted the recent investigation into former Metro board member Jim Graham (D), concluding that he violated Metro’s ethics rules and improperly mixed his roles on the Metro board and the D.C. Council, where he represents Ward 1 .

The firm’s recommendations were discussed Thursday at a meeting of the transit agency’s governance committee and will be considered by the full board in February.

In addition to recommending clearer consequences, the review urged Metro to add rules prohibiting nepotism and vote trading, to expand disclosures of potential conflicts of interest and to set up an independent ethics committee to review alleged misconduct by board members.

Some board members expressed uncertainty about revisiting the ethics code just 14 months after it was revised to address conflict-of-interest concerns. Others said it was important to resolve these issues before the board has to deal with another problem.

“What we need to do is focus on the fact that we potentially have a hole in our procedures that we need to fill,” board member Mary Hynes said during the discussion.

Board member Mort Downey said the ethics code should be improved but said the board should tread carefully when it comes to prescribing sanctions.

“I think that may be something that’s beyond our control,” he said. “It is something that the legislative bodies may want to take a look at.”

The law firm’s recommendations also extended into governance issues, such as the number of board members, the frequency of board meetings and whether elected officials should be allowed on the Metro board.

Downey said that while the review offers useful insight on the ethics code, he, like other members, was concerned about recommendations regarding governance. “These were all debated two years ago,” he said. “We agreed two years ago not to touch those issues. And I think that is still a good position.”

Read what others are saying

    A few ‘SAT words,’ defined