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NYCHA Awards

(from left): COIB Chair Steven B. Rosenfeld, NYCHA Chairman Ricardo Elías Morales

Photo Caption: COIB Chair Steven B. Rosenfeld (left) presents NYCHA Chairman Ricardo Elías Morales with Ethics in City Government Award.
Photo credit: Pete Mikoleski

NYCHA Chairman Ricardo Elías Morales Receives Sheldon Oliensis Ethics in City Government Award

New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chairman Ricardo Elías Morales was presented with the City's Conflict of Interest Board's (COIB's) Sheldon Oliensis Ethics in City Government Award at the New York Law School in Lower Manhattan on the morning of May 20th. The presentation of the award was followed by remarks from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who served as keynote speaker for the COIB's Fifteenth Annual Citywide Seminar on Ethics in New York City Government.

The COIB presents the award each year to those individuals, City agencies, and other organizations who advance the goal of the City's conflicts of interest law, which is, quoting from the Preamble to Chapter 68 of the City Charter, “to preserve the trust placed in the public servants of the city, to promote public confidence in government, to protect the integrity of government decision-making and to enhance government efficiency.”

Mr. Morales, who was appointed as NYCHA's interim Chairman late last year by the Mayor, also served as the Housing Authority's General Counsel and Chief Ethics Officer. In presenting him with the award, COIB Chair Steven B. Rosenfeld praised NYCHA's adoption of a “new meaningful code of ethics,” and its dissemination to 13,000 staff members through a “train-the-trainer” program.

Chairman Morales, in turn, thanked the COIB for its support, calling the development and implementation of NYCHA's Code of Ethics, an “evolutionary process.” He thanked the NYCHA Board, Law Department staff, and “a myriad of people who helped out in the program.” “The words transparency and accountability are meaningless unless the core of the institution is ethical,” the Chairman stated. “The Conflict of Interest Law is not optional. It's the law.”

“I've always believed that government leaders have the responsibility to set the bar high when it comes to ethics” said the Mayor. “When I appoint Commissioners I get honest people who are really smart and really understand. …Having accountability and integrity is really the hallmark. Ricardo has done a terrific job as General Counsel at NYCHA and as acting Chair. No matter how much you do, people always want more. It's easy to compromise, but Ricardo has never done that.”

Eileen Elliott
May 20, 2009