ORDINANCE NO. BL2001- 692
An ordinance amending Article II and Article III of Chapter 2.04 of the Metropolitan Code relating to Standards for Ethical Conduct and Council Board of Ethical Conduct by revising the standards and the procedures for handling of complaints of misconduct.
WHEREAS, over the past several months there have been several complaints of unethical conduct filed against Members of Council which have resulted in extensive investigation and hearings which have resulted in a finding that there was not unethical conduct; and
WHEREAS, there is need to clarify what conduct is unethical, what the allegations of such complaints should contain, and how such complaints should be investigated to provide for an efficient and complete resolution.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY:
SECTION 1. Section 2.04.050 of the Metropolitan Code shall be and the same is hereby amended by deleting the provisions in subsection B.
SECTION 2. Section 2.04.070 A. of the Metropolitan Code shall be and the same is hereby amended by deleting the following provisions: ",and should, as far as possible, avoid the appearance or suspicion of unethical conduct"
SECTION 3. Section 2.04.080 of the Metropolitan Code shall be and the same is hereby amended by adding the following new subsection C.:
"C. For the purposes of this section, a member of council who receives a gift or benefit which is provided to all other members of council, other elected officials, employees of the Metropolitan Government, or members of the general public, shall not be deemed a gift or benefit prohibited by this section. It is recognized that numerous groups, both for-profit and not-for-profit, provide meals, entertainment, and recreational opportunities as part of their attempt to inform the members of council of their purpose and their programming, and which is not offered in an attempt to influence pending or previously adopted legislation."
SECTION 4. Section 2.04.180 of the Metropolitan Code shall be and the same is hereby amended by deleting the provisions in subsections A., B., and C. and substituting in lieu thereof the following new provisions:
"A. The board shall conduct an investigation into the alleged unethical conduct of any member of council only (1) upon a written complaint signed by the complaining party; (2) when requested by a resolution duly adopted by the council; or (3) if initiated, in writing, by a member of the board and filed with the metropolitan clerk. Such complaint, resolution, or writing shall contain with specificity factual information including, but not limited to, (a) the alleged conduct entered into; (b) the gift, economic benefit, or bribe offered or received; (c) the date of such was offered or received; (d) the person or entity providing such gift or economic benefit; (e) the legislative action under consideration at the time of conduct; (f) the contractual arrangement from which benefit was received; (g) the date improper influence was exerted (h) the official, or agency upon which such influence was exerted; and/or (i) such other facts as are necessary to provide a reasonable belief that a member has engaged in unethical conduct. Upon receipt of such complaint, resolution, or writing, the metropolitan clerk shall forward a copy to each member of the board and to the member of council who conduct has been alleged to be unethical. The chair of the board shall forward a copy of the complaint, resolution, or writing to the metropolitan attorney for an appropriate investigation.
B. Upon receipt of a copy of the complaint, resolution, or writing by the metropolitan attorney, the metropolitan attorney shall undertake such investigation as may deemed necessary to determine if such complaint, resolution, or writing, alleges facts, if proven true, could be deemed unethical conduct in violation of Article II of this Chapter. The metropolitan attorney shall interview such person or persons as deemed necessary, review such documents as deemed necessary, and may request an interview with the member or members of council against whom the allegations are made. The member or members of council shall have the right to be represented by council at such interview and shall have the right to decline such interview. No inference of guilt or admission of guilt shall be attributed to the decision by a member of council to not be subjected to an interview during this investigation. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, the metropolitan attorney shall file with the metropolitan clerk a report of the results of the investigation, which shall include a recommendation as to whether or not a hearing on the allegations should be conducted by the board. The metropolitan clerk shall forward a copy of the report filed to the members of the board, the person or persons filing the complaint, resolution, or writing, and to the member or members of council involved.
C. Upon receipt of the report of the metropolitan attorney, the chair of the board, with proper notice to the public, the affected member or members of council, the complainant, and to the press shall convene a meeting of the board. At such meeting the board shall determine, after due consideration of the report of the metropolitan attorney, whether or not to conduct a hearing on the complaint, resolution, or writing filed against the member or members of council. In order to conduct a hearing at least three members of the board must affirmatively vote to conduct such hearing. Should the board determine not to conduct a hearing, the matter shall be terminated. If the board votes to conduct a hearing, a date shall be scheduled for such public hearing. At such hearing the board shall hear testimony, consider the report of the metropolitan attorney and any other evidence offered by the metropolitan attorney, hear testimony from the person making the complaint, and/or hear testimony from the member of council whose conduct has been brought into question. This hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures generally followed in quasi-judicial matters by administrative agencies, provided however, a hearing officer may not be utilized by the board. The member or members of council whose conduct is questioned shall have the right to represented by counsel, shall have the right to cross-examine all witnesses and cannot be compelled to testify in the proceedings."
SECTION 5. This Ordinance shall take effect from and after its passage, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.
Sponsored By: Chris Ferrell, Melvin Black
Amendment No. 1
Ordinance No. BL2001-692
I move to amend Ordinance No. BL2001-692 by amending Section 3 by deleting the following sentence wherein it appears:
"It is recognized that numerous groups, both for-profit and not-for-profit, provide meals, entertainment, and recreational opportunities as part of their attempt to inform the members of council of their purpose and their programming, and which is not offered in an attempt to influence pending or previously adopted legislation."
Sponsored By: Chris Ferrell
Amendment Adopted: May 15, 2001
AMENDMENT NO. 2
ORDINANCE NO. BL2001-692
I move to amend Ordinance No. BL2001-692 by amending Section 4 thereof by amending Sub-Section A by inserting in the first sentence after the phrase "written complaint signed by", and before the phrase "the complaining party", the phrase "and sworn to by".
Sponsored By: Ludye Wallace
Amendment Adopted: May 15, 2001
|Introduced:||April 17, 2001|
|Passed First Reading:||April 17, 2001|
|Referred to:||Rules & Confirmations Committee|
|Amended:||May 15, 2001|
|Amended:||May 15, 2001|
|Passed Second Reading:||May 15, 2001|
|Passed Third Reading:||June 5, 2001|
|Returned Unsigned by Mayor:||June 8, 2001|