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VALPARAISO | In the shadow of a growing FBI investigation and increasingly hostile atmosphere among elected officials, Porter County Commissioner Laura Blaney, D-South, said she felt the time was right for the county to join the regional Shared Ethics Advisory Commission.

"I want people to know we really do care about doing it right," she said.

At Blaney's urging, the three-member Porter County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday to become the first Porter County member of the ethics commission.

The commission members, which include numerous Lake County communities and LaPorte County, agree to adopt, promote and implement a four-tier code of ethics and values. The code calls for honesty and integrity, respect and civility, accountability and responsibility, and fairness and justice.

Blaney said she intends to meet soon with a commission representative to discuss how to move forward. It is her understanding the process will include training and education.

The move will cost the county $5,000 upfront and $3,000 for each subsequent year.

"I think government functions better when people have some faith in it," Blaney said.

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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.