- What punishments can the Commission impose for violating the Code?
Answer: If the Commission determines that a Covered Individual violated the Ethics Code, it may impose a fine of up to $5,000 per violation or three times the value of the violation, order restitution, and/or recommend discipline. Rather than face formal charges and penalties, the Covered Individual may enter into a settlement agreement with the Executive Director, stipulating to pertinent facts and negotiating specific remedies.
In the case of volunteer members of advisory committees, the ceilings on fines depend on the violation. For advisory committee members, the Commission may impose a monetary fine of up to $1,000 for failure to disqualify themselves from matters in which they have financial interests; $250 for failure to disclose apparent impaired judgment in the performance of advisory committee duties; and $5,000 per violation for other violations of the Ethics Code, including improper use of official position for private gain, improper use of City resources, accepting or soliciting items of value, and use or disclosure of confidential information for other than a City purpose.
In each circumstance, the Commission may require reimbursement of damages and costs, and may recommend censure or removal from the committee as well as cancellation of the decision made that the volunteer improperly participated in.
- Can the Commission fire me for violating the Code?
Answer: No. The Commission has no authority to discipline employees. Only the hiring authority -- in most cases the Department Head -- has authority to discipline employees or terminate employment.
Your department does not have to follow the Commission's recommendation for discipline. If discipline is carried out, personnel procedures for the disciplinary action must be followed and the outcome reported to the Commission.
See the Ethics Code, SMC 4.16.100 or contact the SEEC for more information.
Last updated August 11, 2009.