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Commission Strengthens Code of Conduct, Ethics Rules

08/26/2015

The Bernalillo County Commission on Aug. 25, 2015 strengthened and clarified the county’s Code of Conduct ordinance.

The changes clarify political activity rules, making a distinction between county employees and elected officials; amend deadlines for elected officials to file financial disclosure forms, and clarifies that amended disclosure forms only need to be filed when there’s a change in an elected official’s finances; and expands the restrictions on working at the county after leaving office to include all elected officials covered under the Code of Conduct.

The revised ordinance also gives the county’s Code of Conduct Review Board the ability to dispose of certain irrelevant complaints without holding a hearing. This is the third revision to the ordinance, formerly known as the County’s Ethics ordinance, since its first significant revision in 2009 - 2010.

“In the five years since the commission first approved major ethics code revisions, we have continued to look for ways to improve the ordinance so that it continues to hold all elected officials and county employees to the highest standards of public service, but can’t be manipulated as a political tool,” says Commission Chair Maggie Hart Stebbins, who sponsored both the amendments and first major overhaul of the Ethics Ordinance in 2009.  

The amendments were recommended by the Bernalillo County Code of Conduct Review Board, which has reviewed seven cases since September, 2013. The five-member board is appointed by the County Commission.

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