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(A) (1) A Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government Ethics Commission (the Ethics Commission) is hereby created which shall be responsible for the enforcement and administration of the Code of Ethics adopted in this chapter in the manner set forth in this chapter. When requested by a Metro Officer, a candidate seeking to become an elected Metro Officer, or a lobbyist or lobbyist’s employer as defined in § 21.40, the Ethics Commission shall issue an advisory opinion concerning acts or activities covered by this chapter. Such opinions shall be public and shall not disclose the identity of persons associated with the opinion. Confidential opinions may be issued, if requested by the entity submitting the question and only if the subject is exempt from disclosure pursuant to KRS 61.878.
(B) (1) The investigation and determination of whether a person or entity has committed any violation of this chapter shall be the responsibility of the Ethics Commission. In order to ensure a thorough investigation, the Commission is authorized to appoint an investigating officer.
(2) When requested by an appointing authority, the Ethics Commission shall have authority to issue an opinion concerning whether or not an act or activities undertaken by a Metro Officer constitute a violation of this chapter. The Ethics Commission shall have authority to adjudicate factual issues, and to determine whether the alleged act or activity constitutes a violation of this chapter.
(C) (1) The Ethics Commission shall consist of seven members appointed by the Metro Mayor and approved by the Metro Council. Ethics Commission members shall be chosen by virtue of their known and consistent reputation for integrity and their knowledge of local government affairs. No two Ethics Commission members shall reside in the same Metro Council district. Members of the Ethics Commission shall serve for a term of three years or until his or her successor is appointed. Provided, however, that the term of office may be less than three years at appointment if necessary to prevent the expiration of more than three members’ term of office in any one year. In addition, such Ethics Commission members may be reappointed for one consecutive term and shall not be eligible for reappointment until one year after the expiration of his or her last term. Members of the Ethics Commission shall not receive compensation but shall be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties in the same manner as provided by existing Louisville Metro Government policy for expense reimbursement.
(2) The absence of any member from three consecutive meetings, unless the Ethics Commission has excused the absence for good and sufficient reason, shall constitute a resignation.
(3) When a vacancy occurs in the membership of the Ethics Commission, the vacancy shall, within 60 days, be filled for the unexpired portion of the term in the same manner as regular appointments. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy on the Ethics Commission must meet the qualifications and limitations set forth in this chapter.
(4) An Ethics Commission member may be removed from office by at least a two-thirds majority of the Metro Council, after written notice, including a clear statement of the grounds for removal, and opportunity for reply, at least 30 days before voting on removal. The sole grounds for removal shall be failure to meet the qualifications or limitations set forth in this code, neglect of duty, gross misconduct in office, inability to discharge the powers or duties of office, or a violation of this chapter.
(5) No member of the Ethics Commission may be, or have been within one year prior to appointment: a person serving in an elected office of any level of government or a candidate for election to office of any level of government; a Metro Officer or employee of the Metro Government; a lobbyist as defined in § 21.40 of this Code or KRS 11A.010(11); a member of a Metro Officer’s family.
(D) The Ethics Commission shall annually report any changes to its rules operations, or procedures to the Louisville Metro Council by August 1.
(E) There is hereby created the position of Legal Counsel to the Ethics Commission. The Ethics Commission shall employ Legal Counsel on contract on either a full-time or part-time basis provided that Legal Counsel employed under contract shall not be employed counsel or under contract in any capacity with Metro Government, or associated with an attorney employed by or under contract in any capacity with Metro Government.
(F) The Metro Human Resources Department shall provide reasonable and necessary staff support for the operation of the Ethics Commission, including all training of Metro Officers required in this section.
(G) The Ethics Commission shall be the official custodian of all registrations and statements to be filed under this chapter.
(H) (1) The Ethics Commission shall conduct at least one annual training and review session open and available to all Metro Officers, and such other training and review activities as shall from time to time be requested by the Metro Mayor, the Metro Council, or Ethics Commission.
(2) All Metro Officers shall be required to attend one training session conducted by the Ethics Commission within 12 months of his or her election or appointment, and at least once every 24 months thereafter.
(I) The Ethics Commission shall prepare and submit an annual report to the Metro Council, summarizing the activities, decisions, and advisory opinions of the Ethics Commission. The annual report may also recommend changes to the text or administration of this Ethics Code. The annual report must be submitted no later than July 31st of each fiscal year, covering to the previous fiscal year ending June 30th, and must be filed with the Metro Council Clerk. The annual report shall be made available on the Metro website with a statement that financial disclosure forms are available for public inspection with the Ethics Commission. On a monthly basis, a report must be prepared and submitted to Metro Council if any decisions or advisory opinions have been pending for more than 180 days from the date of the complaint or request. The report shall summarize the Ethics Commission’s actions on the request or complaint, reasons for delay, and an anticipated time frame for issuance of a decision.
(J) The Ethics Commission shall at least every four years review this Ethics Code, the enforcement of the Ethics Code, and the Ethics Commission’s rules, regulations, and administrative procedures to determine whether they promote integrity, public confidence, and participation in Louisville Metro Government, and whether they set forth clear and enforceable, common-sense standards of conduct. After at least one public hearing, the Ethics Commission may recommend to the Metro Council amendments to this Ethics Code.
(Lou. Metro Ord. No. 71-2003, approved 4-16-2003; Lou. Metro Am. Ord. No. 116-2003, approved 6-27-2003; Lou. Metro Am. Ord. No. 52-2010, approved 3-25-2010; Lou. Metro Am. Ord. No. 88-2012, approved 5-11-2012; Am. Ord. No. 168-2022, approved 11-16-2022)