City of Hinesville Code of Ethics

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City of Hinesville Code of Ethics

I have been reading and studying for a couple weeks or so now the cities ordinances/laws put into place by the city for all of its citizens, no matter if working in city government or not, but a citizen of Hinesville.

One area of the city codes that has peaked my interest is the Ethics Committee which is used to file complaints against city officials, employees and/or elected officials. In section 2-132 of the code it states that they have in place an Ethics Committee which comprises of five members and that all members shall be residents of the City of Hinesville and shall serve a two-year term. It also states that these five members are appointed by the City Council.

I have made some inquires as to who these five members of this committee are and have been given the run around and reason I am here writing about it.

Perhaps this will be brought to the attention of city government and someone will get back with me as to who the members are of this ethics committee. I’m pretty sure that we have a right as citizens of this city to know who they are.

The Ethics Committee was set up, as a check and balances, for its citizens to be able to file complaints against any city official by its employees and/or citizens. This committee is supposedly selected and have no affiliation with any city position. It states in section 2-133 ( c ) The ethics committee shall be empowered to conduct investigations through hearings, by subpoenaing parties, and collecting evidence and information concerning any complaint.
Section 2-133 ( f ) states “Should the committee determine after a hearing that disciplinary action is warranted, it shall make written findings and recommendations to the City Council.

Section 2-133 ( g ) states “The official against whom a complaint is filed may present evidence to the Ethics Committee and/or City Council concerning any alleged complaints.” It states “The final disciplinary decision and/or penalties shall only be determined after a hearing and opportunity to present evidence.”

Section 2-133 ( h ) states “Employees who are charged with violation of the code of ethics will be given due process according to the City’s personnel policies and procedures.”

One of my questions is what if the complaint filed is against a member or members of the city council how is it handled then? Is that person who has been filed against removed from making a decision or final judgement on or about themselves? If it is filed against a sitting council person will the rest of the council be impartial and do the right thing and not just bury it and do nothing?

Section 2-135 Right to appeal. I guess this may give some protection to ensure there are check and balances in place for it states “Any final decision by the City Council pursuant to this Code shall be reviewable by the Superior Court of Liberty County. The review by the Superior Court shall be limited to whether there was evidence to support the decision of the City Council; provided however, the City Council’s refusal or failure to take action pursuant to this Code shall not be reviewable by the Superior Court.

Can a citizen of Hinesville be assured that they would have a fair shake if such a move was made to file against a sitting city council person? Now I am curious was this how it was handled regarding the mess regarding a code enforcement officer who filed against a council person, and was it how it was handled regarding Mr. Edwards?

Guess what I’m asking is was the Ethics Committee bought into it as expected when someone files a complaint against another city employee and were they the ones to do the investigation for all parties concerned from code enforcement officer, to city council person, and Mr. Edwards or did the city council just by pass the Ethics Committee and did their own thing, and if they did not allow the Ethics Committee to do their job then are they not in the wrong for doing so and should they not be investigated for it?

What about, we as citizens not employed by the city or an elected official, if we want to file a formal complaint with the Ethics Committee having to do with an elected official who happens to be a city council person will the Ethics Committee be allowed to do their job and investigate and make recommendations to the city council and will the other members of the city council do the right thing?

Just wondering and trying to understand how the system is supposed to work for the good of all it’s citizens no matter who they are.

Latest Activity: Nov 12, 2017 at 3:06 AM

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