Following up on yesterday's report of possible corruption in Detroit Public Schools, The Detroit News reports on the arraignment of Ecorse's mayor and controller, who have been charged with conspiracy, bribery and fraud with regards to the city's public works contractor. The pair allegedly received at least $10,000 and a Lexus from the contractor, according to The News.
Municipalities can avoid such legal difficulties by embracing transparency. What can help avoid an improper contracting arrangement? Requests for proposals and responses from vendors, meeting minutes and resolutions, contracts and any addendums, and the city's check registry - which would identify payments to the contractor - can all help and should be made available for public inspection.
These items are not present on the city's Web site. Ecorse is particularly lacking in online transparency, with a Web site that is simply a directory.