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The City Secretary's Office processes ethics complaints. Learn about the procedure to file a complaint and how these complaints are processed. 

How to File an Ethics Complaint

The complaint must be in writing.

The complaint must specify the ethical rule that is alleged to be violated AND the facts which are alleged to constitute the violation.

The complaint must be sworn to and signed by one (1) person.

The complaint must be filed with the office of the City Secretary.

The complaint must be filed within six (6) months from the date the complainant knew or should have known about the action alleged as a violation.

You also can obtain a copy of the Ethics Complaint Form and any additional information from the City Secretary's Office on the first floor of City Hall, 1201 Leopard Street.

 

Procedure After the Complaint is Filed

Not later than three (3) working days after city secretary receives the complaint, the city secretary will acknowledge receipt to complainant and provide a copy to the City Attorney, the Ethics Commission and the person who is the subject of the complaint.

The person complained against shall have ten (10) days to submit a response to the complaint prior to the Ethics Commission deciding whether to hold a hearing.

Not earlier than ten (10) days or later than thirty (30) days after the City Secretary receives the complaint, the Ethics Commission shall notify in writing the complainant and the person complained against whether a hearing will be scheduled to act on the complaint.

If the Ethics Commission denies the original complaint, the Complainant shall have one opportunity within fifteen (15) days to amend and re-file the complaint with the commission.

 

Hearing

The hearing must be held as expeditiously as possible following the determination by the Ethics Commission to conduct a hearing on the complaint.

The sole issue at the hearing shall be whether the violation alleged in the complaint occurred.

All witnesses testify under oath.

The Ethics Commission makes its findings based on the preponderance of credible evidence in the record.

The Ethics Commission may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take evidence and subpoena the production of all other evidence necessary for the discharge of its duties.

If the Ethics Commission determines that a violation occurred, it shall make its findings in writing, including the particular provisions found to have been violated, and shall deliver a copy of the findings to the complainant, the person complained against and the City Secretary within five (5) working days.

 

Possible Sanctions

If the Ethics Commission determines that a violation occurred, it shall determine its recommendation of appropriate sanctions.  The recommendation may include reprimand, temporary suspension, removal or other corrective action.  Such recommendation is forwarded to the City Council.

The City Council shall consider the recommendation of the Ethics Commission, but will exercise its own judgment and discretion in determining what action to take.