A comprehensive ethics ordinance was adopted by the Denton City Council on May 1, 2018. The ordinance sets guidelines for ethical behavior by City Officials including the Mayor and City Council, the City Manager, Attorney, Auditor, Municipal Judge, certain Boards and Commissions, former City Officials, and vendors.
Key Provisions of the Ethics Ordinance
Read the entire Ethics Ordinance
- Defines a Conflict of Interest as any income or ownership in a business, or ownership of property over $600.
- Requires that City Officials disclose, recuse themselves, and are prohibited to deliberate on matters when a Conflict of Interest exists.
- City Officials are prohibited from accepting gifts over $50 and no more than $200 from per year.
- Creates a Board of Ethics to hear complaints filed against City Officials for violations.
- Creates penalties for those found to have violated the Ordinance up to a recommendation of suspension.
BOARD OF ETHICS
The Ethics Ordinance created a Board of Ethics that is charged with the administration of the ordinance. The Board is composed of seven regular members and three alternate members serving two-year alternating terms. The Board provides advisory opinions and hears complaints against City Officials. The authority of the Board is limited to the scope of the Ordinance and they may only enact sanctions for violations provided for by the Ordinance.
Sec. 2-276 of the Ethics Ordinance provides for the following related to the mandated training:
(a) Curriculum. The City Auditor shall approve a training program that provides an introduction and overview of the expectation, mandates, and prohibitions provided for by the Article.
(b) Orientation. City Officials shall complete training session regarding the Article within ninety (90) days of commencing their official duties.
(c) Annual. City Officials shall complete an annual training session regarding this Article.
Council Members, City Council Appointees, or members of the Board of Ethics, Planning and Zoning Commision Members, Board of Adjustment, Historic Landmark Commission, or Public Utilities Board.
The approved traning for this purpose:
FILING A COMPLAINT
For individuals wishing to file a complaint against a City Official, a complaint form is included under “Important Resources.” This document includes instructions for filing a complaint. Completed complaints should be submitted to the City Auditor. After a complaint is filed, the Board of Ethics will hold a preliminary hearing to determine if the complaint is actionable, in other words, if the allegations of the complaint are true, whether the complaint would violate the Ordinance.
Timeline of Ethics Ordinance
- November 7, 2017: City of Denton Charter Election is held with five propositions for amendments to the Denton City Charter, including a proposition that would require the City of Denton to adopt an ethics ordinance.
- November 14, 2017: The City Council hires an outside attorney to assist and facilitate the development of an ethics ordinance.
- November 20, 2017: The results of the Charter Election are certified and Proposition D is approved.
- December 5, 2017: First City Council work session is held regarding development of an Ethics Ordinance.
- December 2017 to May 2018: The City Council holds multiple sessions to craft a comprehensive Ethics Ordinance.
- May 1, 2018: The Ethics Ordinance is approved by a vote of 7 to 0.