City Council briefed on proposed ethics code changes

City Council briefed on proposed ethics code changes

The Dallas City Council heard a presentation from Dallas Ethics Advisory Commission Chair John Rogers on proposed updates and changes to the Dallas City Code. The changes are designed to strengthen ethical standards, programs and policies.

After discussion, Mayor Mike Rawlings asked councilmembers to provide Rogers with any questions or issues by Jan. 19. “We want to make sure we deal with all the issues being put on the table,” Rawlings told Councilmembers. A determination will then be made about how much work needs to be done and when the proposed changes will be brought back to Council, he said.

Proposed changes include:

  • Make breach of fiduciary duty an ethics violation
  • Amend the gifts provision
  • Create a gift policy for employees
  • Create a donation policy
  • Require confidentiality of executive sessions
  • Prohibit city officials from endorsing candidates for public office
  • Prohibit disclosure of draft documents
  • Require lawyers who represent clients to register as lobbyists
  • Require employee associations to register as lobbyists
  • Prohibit Councilmembers from meeting with bidders and lobbyists regarding pending contracts
  • Prohibit campaign managers from acting as lobbyists
  • Require Chief Financial Supervisors of department directors to provide disclosure and travel reports
  • Expand the jurisdiction of the Ethics Advisory Commission
  • Allow ethics complaints filed on the fraud, waste and abuse hotline to be forwarded to the Ethics Advisory Commission
  • Provide additional sanctions for violations of the code of ethics
  • Create rules for city-funded city council officeholder accounts

The briefing included input from many City departments and recommends adopting best practices from other cities in order to create a culture of ethics at City Hall, improve the ethics complaint process, create standards of civility and clarify confusing or ambiguous provisions in the current code.

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