Ethics get immediate emphasis by new president

Luis Guillermo Solís won the presidency in large part because he promised an end to the systemic corruption that many felt the Partido Liberación Nacional represented.

He met with his ministers and other top appointees Thursday an hour after taking the oath of office, and his party, Acción Ciudadana released an ethics pledge to which each had agreed..

The 16-point pledge says that they will hire only the persons they need and not fill their adviser ranks with political friends. The pledge also says that they will not work in private capacities in conflict with their government job.

The members of government also are limited to purchasing advertising only if it is necessary to inform the citizens or to report on work done. They are not supposed to use such paid advertising for personal promotion, according to the code.

The members of government also are obligated to talk clearly and with respect to the news media and members of civil society.

The pledge is a direct reflection of the Laura Chinchilla administration. One online site allied with Acción Ciudadana published a devastating litany this week of all the ethical pitfalls over her four years in office. The online site, Informa Tico, called this list the horrors that Ms. Chinchilla did not address in her May 1 speech to the legislature.

The list began with an attempt to raise lawmaker salaries 60 percent in 2010, a legislator of the president’s party accused of bribery in 2011, revelations in 2013 of the president’s trips in a private plane owned by a suspicious Colombian businessman and revelations that the head of the tax-collecting finance ministry did not pay taxes.

Also listed was the scandal over Ruta 1856, the roadway that runs parallel to the Río Sam Juan at the northern border. That whole project still is the subject of a criminal investigation.

There were many other incidents that appear not to have been lost on the public when they voted in February and April.

The ministers and top appointees now have to insure that the ethical guidelines become the norm in the various ministries and institutions.

One concern is that the bureaucracy has a mind of its own. When  José María Tijerino became security minister in 2010, his first order was that Fuerza Pública officers should show up in public at 8 a.m. the next day, a display of force amid a period of rising crime. Nothing happened. Some said the order never got to the ranks. But it appeared that the entire police organization simply ignored the minister’s order. Nothing happened to them either.

Tijerino was no raw recruit. He was a former fiscal general or chief prosecutor. But he seemed to be powerless b

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