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Ethics Commission Code of Ethics
Broward County > Government > District 6 - Sue Gunzburger > Newsletters > Ethics Commission Code of Ethics

I have been a long time advocate for developing a Code of Ethics to regulate the conduct of the Broward County Commissioners. Certainly the recent indictments of elected officials dictate the need for a strong ethical code to prevent corruption and encourage renewed public trust.

In 2008, voters unanimously approved the creation of an Ethics Commission to develop a Code of Ethics. I'm happy to report, the work has been completed and a Code of Ethics is now being reviewed by County Commissioners.

It is my intent to ask Commissioners to make the Ethics Code a charter amendment versus a county ordinance. If placed in the Charter, the Code of Ethics can't be removed or changed without a super majority vote of the County Commission and a vote by the public.

The newly proposed Code of Ethics governs many aspects of how county business is conducted. Here are some highlights:

  • No gifts can be accepted from registered lobbyists, their clients or from vendors or contractors doing business with Broward County.

  • County Commissioners cannot be employed as a lobbyist or engage in lobbying activities with cities or other government entities in Broward County.

  • County Commissioners must disclose any lobbying activity that takes place outside of their offices, including by phone or electronic media.

  • County Commissioners will not engage in activities that are dishonest and contradict his or her duty to provide loyal service and honest governance to the residents of Broward County.

  • County Commissioners can solicit campaign contributions for other candidates and must submit detailed disclosure forms for public review.

  • County Commissioners shall not serve as a voting member of any Selection/Evaluation Committee where county contracts are being awarded.

  • New and existing County Commissioners will undergo training on the topic of public service ethics.

  • An Office of Inspector General will be created to detect misconduct and conduct investigations.

There are also fines of $250 to $5,000 per violation for any Commissioner who violates the Code of Ethics as well as public reprimand, censure and possible incarceration. There is also some language that prevents weakening or removing items from the Code of Ethics.

Broward County Commissioners have a deadline of August 18, 2010 to either adopt this Code of Ethics or place it on the ballot in November. I'm hoping my colleagues will agree with the terms of the ordinance and make it part of our County Charter. The Broward County Commission has scheduled a workshop to review and discuss the proposed Code of Ethics on May 4, 2010.

I'd like to hear your thoughts about this topic or any other issues or concerns that are important to you and our community. You can always reach my staff at 954-357-7006 or send me an e-mail at sgunzburger@broward.org.