Board of Ethics
The Board of Ethics was created in 2018 with the adoption of the City's first Ethics Ordinance. The Board is responsible for:
- Hearing Ethics Complaints filed against City Officials;
- Providing City Officials with advisory opinions on how the Ethics Ordinance applies; and
- Reviewing Ethics Ordinance and proposing amendments to the City Council. The Current Proposed Amendments Tracker can be used to track the status of amendments being discussed by the Board.
The Ethics Ordinance (PDF) defines the ethical rules of conduct for Denton City Officials. Key provisions of the Ordinance include:
- Defines a Conflict of Interest as any income or ownership in a business, or ownership of property over $600 or an unresolved offer of employment;
- Prohibits City Officials from deliberating on matters when a Conflict of interest exists;
- Requires City Officials to disclose and financial information as required by law and business partnership information annually;
- Prohibits City Officials from accepting gifts over $50 and no more than $200 per year; and
- Creates penalties for those found to have violated the Ordinance up to a recommendation of suspension.
Residents of the City of Denton can speak at any regularly schedule Board of Ethics Member on any posted agenda item or on items not on the agenda by by signing up prior to the meeting beginning. Residents may also email the City Auditor at [email protected] if they have questions regarding the Board of Ethics' public comment process.
Filing a Complaint
Individuals wishing to file a complaint against a City Official must complete an Ethics Complaint Form (PDF). This form includes instructions for filing a complaint. Completed complaints should be submitted to the City Auditor's Office. The Ethics Complaint Process Packet (PDF) details the process followed by the Board once an Ethics Complaint is submitted.
The Ethics Ordinance applies to certain City Officials including:
- The Mayor and City Council;
- The Board of Ethics Members;
- Historic Landmark Commission Members;
- Planning and Zoning Commission Members;
- Public Utilities Board Members;
- Zoning Board of Adjustment Members;
- The City Manager, Attorney, and Auditor; and
- The Municipal Judge.
These City Officials are required to complete training on the Ethics Ordinance annually. In order to complete this training City Officials must:
- Observe the City Officials Ethics Training Video; and
- Read Local Government Ethics in a Nutshell (PDF).
The Ethics Ordinance allows any City Official to request an Advisory Opinion on a question of compliance with the Ethics Ordinance. Advisory Opinions are written rulings regarding the application of the Ordinance to a particular situation or behavior.
It is an affirmative defense to an Ethics Complaint that a Respondent reasonably relied upon an Advisory Opinion in good faith if it was issued less than five years before the Complaint was filed and the request fairly and accurately disclosed the relevant facts.
According to the Ethics Ordinance Sec. 2-277 (i), the Board of Ethics may recommend amendments to the Ordinance. To do so, the Board of Ethics generally discuss sections of the City of Denton's Ethics Ordinance and compares it to other Texas cities with ethics codes as well as the Model Municipal Ethics Code published by CityEthics.org.
The dashboard below is intended to aid the public in tracking potential amendments to the Ethics Ordinance by including a brief description of the amendment, the date the proposal was last discussed, and the status of each proposal as defined below:
- Directed: The Board of Ethics has given direction to staff to draft language that would form the basis of the amendment proposal.
- Drafted: Draft language for the proposal has been presented to the Board for review, discussion, and potential action.
- Forwarded: The proposal, including amended language, has been forwarded by the Board to the City Council for review, discussion, and potential action.
- Adopted: The proposal has been formally adopted by the City Council and is not part of the City of Denton's ethics code.
- Postponed: The City Council has given direction for the Board of Ethics to bring the proposal back after additional review and discussion.
- Rejected: The City Council has given direction to not adopt the proposal.