Embargoed Release Until September 16, 2019
Ethics Experts Lining Up Against the Fatally Flawed Ethics Act on DeKalb County’s Ballot for November 5, 2019
Ethics experts and other leaders in the county are lining up against the Revised Ethics Act that will be on DeKalb County’s ballot on November 5, 2019.
Dr. Paul Wolpe, Director of the Emory Center for Ethics, an internationally renowned ethics expert and a DeKalb County citizen, has reviewed the proposed legislation. “The bottom line is that this bill is clearly meant to weaken and dilute the excellent policy passed in 2015, without any convincing reasons to weaken the bill,” Dr. Wolpe concluded.
Former ethics board members, Susan Nugent, Teri Thompson, Scott Bonder, and Isaac Blythers, as well as Judge Patricia Killingsworth who is a member of DeKalb Citizens, have also reviewed the proposed changes and taken issue with them.
“By forcing employees to go through Human Resources, this bill will have a chilling effect on county employees’ ability to report wrong-doing when they see it,” stated Judge Killingsworth. “Human Resources could delay an employee’s right to go to the ethics board indefinitely, which is not acceptable.”
Further, a 2017 study of DeKalb’s Culture by the University of North Georgia’s BB&T Center for Ethical Leadership stated that “Due to below average scores on indicators such as leadership confidence, perceptions of the county’s leadership ability to articulate a clear future and vision, employees understanding of the county’s values, and overall communication we recommend remediation for the county government and its employees.”
“Voters need to send a clear “no” to the county and legislature regarding this flawed revised ethics act,” stated Mary Hinkel, chair of the DeKalb Citizens Advocacy Council. “The ballot language sounds good, but what lies beneath it in the actual act is rotten to the core.”
For more information, visit www.dekalbcitizens.org/about-us.
The DeKalb Citizens Advocacy Council (DeKalb Citizens) is registered as a nonprofit corporation in the state of Georgia and will be filing shortly an application for recognition of exemption under IRS Section 501(c)4. DeKalb Citizens Advocacy Council is a group of community members from throughout DeKalb County, Georgia, that has formed a ballot committee to defeat the revised ethics act, which is on the ballot for the November 5, 2019 general election. DeKalb Citizens’ mission is to educate the citizens of DeKalb County about county governance issues and to advocate for informed citizen engagement. The organization’s members research topics, including filing open records requests and seeking out best practices from other jurisdictions. The goal is for DeKalb County to model excellence in citizen engagement and county responsiveness to citizen concerns.