This article appeared in the February 2017 issue of the Georgia's Cities newspaper.
(l to r) Summerville Councilmember Earl Parris and Mayor Harry Harvey receive the Cities of Ethics designation from GMA’s Third Vice President and Dublin Mayor Phil Best.
The city of Summerville was recognized for earning the Cities of Ethics designation at GMA’s Mayors’ Day Conference in Atlanta on Jan. 22. Summerville joins more than 200 cities that have received the Cities of Ethics designation.
Also, the cities of Bowdon, Dacula, Decatur, Gordon, Lithonia, Monticello, Remerton and Watson were recertified as Cities of Ethics, while Cobb County was recertified as a County of Ethics and the Central Valdosta Development Authority received its Organization of Ethics recertification.
The City of Ethics program began in 1999 and was developed by a panel of business and government leaders to encourage cities to adopt and adhere to a set of key ethical principles and adopt a local ethics ordinance. The ordinance must contain definitions, prohibited conduct and due process for officials accused of violations in areas such as financial disclosures, conflicts of interests and outside employment. The ordinance must also contain penalties for city officials who violate the ordinance.
In recent years, GMA began requiring cities with the designation to recertify for the program, ensuring that ordinances maintain the standards of the program and city officials are regularly reminded of their ethical obligations as individuals and as a governing body. Each city will be required to apply for recertification every four years.
A panel of attorneys reviewed the ordinances to determine if they comply with the criteria set by GMA. The cities received a plaque and are now authorized by GMA to use a “Certified City of Ethics” logo on city stationery, road signs, city vehicles and for other uses.