Seeking to fulfill a campaign pledge to employ an ethical staff, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa issued an Executive Directive today requiring his staff and appointees to attend annual ethics training sessions, the immediate and timely disclosure from board or commission members of any conflicts of interest and all department heads to post a current copy of the “City of Los Angeles’ Code of Ethics.” “Let’s be clear, honesty and ethics in City Hall start at the top,” said Mayor Villaraigosa in a news release. “We are the public’s servants. We must set a higher benchmark by our actions to restore the public’s faith and trust in local government. Today, we have begun to do just that.” Villaraigosa also named Thomas Saenz, former vice president of Litigation at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and lecturer at U.S.C. Law School, to serve as lead counsel in the newly created Office of the Counsel to the Mayor. The office will serve as a “watchdog” within the administration, and Saenz will report directly to the Villaraigosa. Villaraigosa also asked for the resignation last Friday of five lobbyists serving as city commissioners; during his campaign, the mayor pledged to remove lobbyists from all city boards and commissions.