§ 31.31  CITY ETHICS COMMISSION.
   (A)   The City Ethics Commission shall consist of five (5) members; not more than one (1) member may be a public official.  The commission member selected as chairperson shall be a citizen member.  Members shall receive no compensation but it may be reimbursed all necessary expenses.  The terms of members shall be staggered and no longer than four (4) years.  The five (5) members shall be appointed by the Mayor, with the approval by the Board of Commissioners.
      (1)   All appointments shall be made no later than sixty (60) days after the adoption of this subchapter.
      (2)   Vacancies on the Ethics Commission shall be filled within sixty (60) days by the Mayor subject to the approval of the Board of Commissioners.  If a vacancy is not filled by the Mayor within sixty (60) days, the remaining members of the Ethics Commission shall fill the vacancy.  All vacancies shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term.
   (B)   Powers and Duties.
      (1)   The Ethics Commission may receive complaints; and conduct investigations, inquiries, and hearings concerning any matter covered by this subchapter.
      (2)   The Ethics Commission may render advisory opinions whether or not a given set of facts and circumstances constitute a violation of any provision of this subchapter.
      (3)   The Ethics Commission shall prescribe and provide forms for reports, statements, notices, and other documents required by this subchapter.
      (4)   The Ethics Commission shall determine whether the required statements and reports have been filed and, if filed, whether they conform with the requirements of this code.  The Commission shall promptly give notice to the filer to correct or explain any omission or deficiency.
      (5)   The Ethics Commission may retain private counsel at the expense of the city if the City Attorney has an actual or potential conflict.  Any counsel must be pre-approved by the Board of Commissioners.
   (C)   Complaint procedure; preliminary investigations.
      (1)   (a)   Upon a complaint signed under penalty of perjury by any person, or, the Ethics Commission shall investigate any alleged violation of this subchapter.
         (b)   No later than ten (10) days after the Commission receives the complaint, the Ethics Commission shall initiate a preliminary inquiry into any alleged violation of this subchapter.
         (c)   Within thirty (30) days of the commencement of the inquiry, the Ethics Commission shall forward a copy of the complaint and a general statement of the applicable law to the person alleged to have committed a violation.
      (2)   All Ethics Commission proceedings and records relating to a preliminary investigation shall be confidential until a final determination is made by the Commission, except the Commission may turn over to the Commonwealth's Attorney or County Attorney of the jurisdiction in which the offense allegedly occurred, evidence which may be used in criminal proceedings; and
      (3)   The complaint or alleged violator shall not publicly disclose the existence of a preliminary investigation, the Ethics Commission shall not publicly confirm the existence of the inquiry nor make public any documents which were issued to either party.
      (4)   The Ethics Commission shall afford a person who is the subject of a preliminary investigation an opportunity to respond to the allegations in the complaint.  The person shall have the right to be represented by counsel, to appear and be heard and to offer evidence in response to the allegations in the complaint.
      (5)   Any person who knowingly files with the Commission a false complaint of misconduct on the part of any elected or appointed official or other person shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
   (D)   Action by Ethics Commission.  If the Ethics Commission concludes in its report that in consideration of the evidence produced at the hearing there is clear and convincing proof of a violation of this ordinance, the commission may:
      (1)   Issue an order requiring the violator to cease and desist the violation, which order may be public or private.
      (2)   In writing, publicly reprimand the violator for the violations and provide a copy of the reprimand to the Board of Commissioners and the City Manager.
      (3)   In writing, recommend to the Board of Commissioners and the City Manager that the violator be sanctioned as recommended by the Ethics Commission, which may include a recommendation for discipline or dismissal.
      (4)   Issue an order requiring the violator to pay a civil penalty of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00).
      (5)   Refer evidence of criminal violations of this subchapter or state laws to the County Attorney or Commonwealth's Attorney of the jurisdiction for prosecution.
   (E)   Appeals.  Any person found by the Ethics Commission to have committed a violation of this subchapter may appeal the action to the Boyd Circuit Court.  The appeal shall be initiated within thirty (30) days after the date of the final action of the Ethics Commission by filing a petition with the court against the Ethics Commission.  The Ethics Commission shall transmit to the Circuit Clerk all evidence considered by the Ethics Commission at the public hearing.  The court shall hear the appeal upon the record as certified by the Ethics Commission.
(Ord. 155-1994, passed 11-17-94)