DHA STATES: VOTE “NO” ON REVISED ETHICS ACT
In 2015, an independent Board of Ethics was approved by 92% of voters: a profound show of unity across DeKalb County. DeKalb citizens want an independent ethics officer that can receive confidential complaints, provide education, guidance and when necessary, correction to our county staff.
In 2017, a subject of ethics investigations filed suit to void this decision by the voters. As described by the AJC, “[Sharon Barnes] Sutton filed her suit after the Ethics Board began investigating her on accusations she misspent public funds.” A judge claimed the ethics board structure approved by the voters was unconstitutional.
Today the voters are being asked the seemingly-innocuous question, "Shall the Act be approved which revises the Board of Ethics for DeKalb County?"
DHA encourages voters to vote “NO” on this question.
It is deceptively simple and hides critical consequences:
- Weaken the ethics officer to a mere administrator, rather than a legal professional.
- Prevent the administrator from starting investigations
- Prevent reporting criminal activity to law enforcement
- Force whistleblowers to a human resources department, instead of direct, confidential communication
- In short, the “revised ethics” would prevent the enforcement of ethics in DeKalb County.
In a perfect world, all elected officials, employees, and appointed officials would have a clear and consistent understanding of the rule of law and would strive equally to act with the highest principles in every aspect of their position.
But being human, there are going to be differences. Not everyone is clear about what “ethical” conduct is in our increasingly divided world. Not everyone has good intentions in their position. This is why we need an educated, experienced principled ethics officer who can independently arbitrate questions of ethical standards and start investigations when necessary.
VOTE “NO” ON THE REVISED ETHICS ACT ON NOVEMBER 5.