Posted by Holly R. Price | Nov 24, 2020
A new DeKalb County Board of Ethics is being selected and applications for positions are open until Dec. 1.
The board is intended to independently review claims of improper conduct by public officials.
The current board has been inactive since the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled in 2018 that its current board member appointment method was unconstitutional. A proposal approved by voters Nov. 3 will dissolve the current board Dec. 31. New board members will take their positions Jan. 1, 2021.
DeKalb voters are once again voting on revisions to an Ethics Act passed in 2015 by 92% of voters. This time, leaders of several DeKalb citizens’ groups are encouraging you to Vote YES. Here are the reasons why:
- The Board of Ethics remains independent; no one under the purview of the Board of Ethics is making appointments to the Board.
a. Unlike the 2019 bill, this bill does not provide for the CEO to make a Board of Ethics appointment and does not call for the Board to submit its policies and procedures to review by the CEO and confirmation by the Board of Commissioners.
- DeKalb employees continue to have direct access to the ethics office to express concerns about ethics violations.
a. Unlike the 2019 bill, this bill does not require employees to funnel complaints about their immediate supervisor through the Human Resources Department and exhaust Merit System remedies before turning to the Board of Ethics.
- The position of Ethics Officer is retained, and the Ethics Officer is still vested with the authority to investigate and file ethics complaints, as well as provide training and advice to county employees.
- The Board’s authority to investigate and report to the public has not been weakened.
a. The 2019 bill included a provision that required the Board of Ethics to abandon the investigation of elected officials or county employees if they resigned, retired or completed their term of office.
b. The 2019 bill included a provision that prevented the Board from rendering any decision on a complaint against a candidate within 45 days of an election.
[Name of neighbor, friend, contact]
On the DeKalb County ballot there will be a referendum to adopt changes which revise the Board of Ethics for the county. DeKalb Citizens Advocacy Council, the group that opposed the previous referendum, supports this one. You can find an in-depth explanation of the major changes and the reasons for support at this link:
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