Regarding “Great choice: Slater to take reins of state ethics panel” (Our Views, Jan. 21): Kudos to the Oklahoma Ethics Commission for hiring Lee Slater to be its leader. The commission was a byproduct of a study panel set up by Gov. Henry Bellmon in 1988. I had the honor of chairing it and was attorney general at the time. I won't list all the members of the blue-ribbon group we assembled, but I'll name a few to show the quality of our group: David Boren and Bellmon were honorary co-chairs. Members included Burns Hargis, Eduard C. Joullian III, Patience Latting, Loyd Benson, Lex Holmes, Tim Leonard and Andrew Tevington. The group presented a redraft of the constitution, but proposed only one new idea, that of an ethics commission. For reasons too complicated to explain here, much of our work wasn't advanced. But a state question amending the constitution to create an ethics commission did get overwhelming support and passed, becoming a part of our state constitutional law.
The Ethics Commission has had its problems, but it's also made some progress and done some good in its 20 years or so of existence. Its work is still necessary. Slater's plans to streamline and modernize are welcome improvements. At this time, someone with bipartisan respect is clearly needed for the task. Slater has that respect and the knowledge and skill to do a fine job. We should all wish him well.
Robert H. Henry, Oklahoma City
Henry is president and CEO of Oklahoma City University.