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ETHICS ORDINANCE, RULES, and HEARING PROCEDURES

BOARD OF ETHICS FAQ

What is the ethics ordinance?


The Ethics Ordinance is the part of the 2019 Detroit City Code that establishes disclosure requirements and standards of conduct applicable to all City of Detroit public servants and for those who work on behalf of the City, such as vendors or contractors. The Ethics Ordinance was enacted by the City Council in 2000 and amended in 2006, 2010, 2012, and 2019. In addition, the 2012 amendments to the Ordinance require all contractors and vendors to make certain disclosures on a form available from the Board of Ethics. It is available for review on our website.




What is the purpose of the ethics ordinance?


The purpose of the Ethics Ordinance is to promote public confidence in public servants and to preserve the integrity of city government. The Ethics Ordinance is intended to establish clear standards of conduct for all public servants, and clear disclosure requirements for all public servants, contractors, and vendors of the City of Detroit. The purpose is further defined as intending to declare integrity in governmental decision making, operations and processes as a fundamental value and policy of city government to which all public servants in city government should strive to adhere at all times. Even the appearance of impropriety is to be avoided.




What is the Detroit Board of Ethics?


The Detroit Board of Ethics is an independent body established by 1997 Detroit City Charter. The Board is a seven-member body composed of residents. The Mayor appoints three members; City Council appoints three members. The Mayor and City Council work together to make one joint appointment.




Who is covered by the ethics ordinance?


The City of Detroit Board of Ethics has jurisdiction over the following public servants as defined in the City of Detroit Ethics Ordinance: Public servant means the Mayor, members of City Council, City Clerk, appointive officers, any member of a board, commission or other voting body established by either branch of City government or the 2012 Charter and any appointee, any employee or any individual who provides services to the City within or outside of its offices or facilities pursuant to a personal services contract. In addition, the Board has limited authority to review the conduct of contractors, vendor and lobbyists.




What does the Board of Ethics do?


The Board of Ethics’ role is to investigate and resolve complaints regarding alleged violations of the Ethics Ordinance by public servants, and to issue advisory opinions regarding the meaning and application of provisions of the Charter, City Ordinances, other laws, or regulations establishing standards of conduct for public servants. The Board also provides ethics training to public servant and issues an annual report to City leadership.




What is a complaint?


A complaint is a sworn statement alleging a violation of the Ethics Ordinance against public servant or other covered persons. Any member of the public may file a complaint with the Board where a person believes there has been a violation of the Ordinance. A complaint must be in writing and it must be notarized. The Board does not accept anonymous complaints.




Who may file a complaint?


Any member of the public may file a complaint with the Board where a person believes there has been a violation of the Ordinance.




What is an advisory opinion?


An advisory opinion is a written opinion of the Board addressing a question of ethical conduct by a public servant. Advisory opinions are filed with the City Clerk. Advisory opinions are rendered upon written request by a public servant by submitting a "Request for Advisory Opinion Form". The request must relate to the requesting public servant's own conduct and must be related to a question regarding the Standards of Conduct or the Disclosure Requirements enumerated in the Ethics Ordinance.




Who may request an advisory opinion?


A public servant, a former public servant, or an applicant or candidate to be a public servant may request an advisory opinion from the Board of Ethics. The request for an advisory opinion must be in writing. The request must relate to the requesting public servants own conduct and must be related to a question regarding the Standards of Conduct or the Disclosure Requirements enumerated in the Ethics Ordinance.




When does the board meet?


The Board meets monthly on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 2:00 pm. The schedule for the year is issued in January and posted on the website and in the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center on the 1st floor, City Clerk Offices, and Recreational Centers. When required, the Board holds Special Meetings. Meetings are conducted in the Butzel Family Center unless otherwise posted. All meetings are open the public.




How often must I take ethics training?


Annual Ethics training for public servants is available using the following link. https://www.detroitethics.org/trainings Public Servants may also receive in-person or other virtual methods for training. Please contact the office or on our website to schedule. You will receive a notice when you are required to repeat your training. The public is welcome to take the ethics training using the above link. For other methods, please contact our office.




What is the process for filing a Complaint?


The following flow chart provides the Complaint process.




What is the process to file a request for an advisory opinion?





How can I file a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Request to acquire documents unavailable on your website?


You may submit your written FOIA request, adhering to the specific guidelines provided, to:

City of Detroit FOIA Coordinator
City of Detroit Law Department
2 Woodward Avenue, Suite 500
Detroit, Michigan 48226

Fax No.: 313-224-5505

Email Address: FOIA@detroitmi.gov

City of Detroit Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Guidelines

https://detroitmi.gov/departments/law-department/submit-foia-request/non-police-freedom-information-act-request




How do I get disability assistance to attend your meeting?


With advance notice of seven calendar days, the City of Detroit will provide interpreter services at public meetings, including American Sign Language, language translation and reasonable ADA accommodations.

Please contact the Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity Department at (313) 224-4950, through the TTY number 711, or email crio@detroitmi.gov to schedule these services.




Is ethics training required for contractors and vendors who conduct business with the City?


Anyone who does business with or behalf of the City are required to adhere to the requirements of the Ethics Ordinance. The contractors and vendors obligations can be obtained from the Office of Contracting and Procurement. Also, any contractor or vendor has the opportunity to participate in Ethics Training through this link.




What is the difference between the Board of Ethics, OIG, Ombudsman and CRIO?


The Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigates waste, abuse, fraud, and corruption in City government. Their jurisdiction extends to all employees, contractors and those seeking to do business with the City of Detroit.

The Ombudsman is a liaison between the City of Detroit and all persons who have a complaint or inquiry into the operations of a City department or conduct of a City employee.

The Civil Rights and Inclusion Office (CRIO) receives, investigates and makes findings on discrimination complaints in the areas of employment, housing, education, public service, commercial space, medical care facilities and public accommodations to any person who believes they have been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religious belief, national origin, age, marital status, disability, residence, public benefit status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity within the City of Detroit.

For City of Detroit employees CRIO is also tasked with investigating complaints of workplace violence and provides discrimination, workplace violence, sensitivity and inclusion trainings and outreach for the City of Detroit employees and residents.

The Board of Ethics' role is to investigate and resolve complaints regarding alleged violations of the Ethics Ordinance by public servants and to issue advisory opinions regarding the meaning and application of provisions of the Charter, City Ordinances, other laws, or regulations establishing standards of conduct for public servants.





OFFICE

Board of Ethics Office

7737 Kercheval, Suite #213

Detroit, MI 48214 

Office: 313-224-9521

Email: Ethics@detroitethics.org

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