The Ethics Ordinance is a collection of local governmental ethics laws proposed by the San Diego Ethics Commission and approved by the San Diego City Council. It includes provisions mirroring many of the laws contained in the state's Political Reform Act, and also contains many other provisions designed to ensure that local officials adhere to certain ethical standards. The Ethics Ordinance contains standards of disclosure designed to avoid conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interest. It regulates certain activities of former City Officials, and prohibits the misuse of City resources and activities incompatible with public service.
Yes. The Ethics Commission has the jurisdiction to administratively enforce the San Diego Election Campaign Control Ordinance which is contained in Chapter 2, Article 7, Division 29 of the San Diego Municipal Code, as well as the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance , which may be found in Chapter 2, Article 7, Division 40 of the Municipal Code. The Ethics Commission only enforces local governmental ethics laws. It does not enforce any other laws, even those that may involve ethical issues. The Commission also does not enforce state law. For violations of the California Political Reform Act, please contact the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
No. The FPPC only enforces the state laws found within the Political Reform Act. The San Diego Ethics Commission is the entity which administratively enforces the Ethics Ordinance. If a particular activity is a violation of both the Ethics Ordinance and the Political Reform Act, the matter may be referred to both the Ethics Commission and the Fair Political Practices Commission.
You may file a formal or informal complaint electronically with the Ethics Commission by selecting the appropriate form on the Complaint section of our website. Note that formal complaints must be signed under penalty of perjury (the online form allows an electronic signature). Informal complaints do not require a signature and may be made anonymously. Please do not file a complaint with the Ethics Commission unless it involves a violation that is subject to the Commission's enforcement authority (please refer to our jurisdiction FAQs).
The Ethics Ordinance makes it unlawful for any City Official to use or threaten to use his or her authority to retaliate against someone who reports to the Ethics Commission any of the following:
For the purposes of the Ethics Ordinance, you are a "City Official" if you are required to file a Statement of Economic Interests pursuant to the California Political Reform Act of 1974, and are (1) an elected or appointed City officeholder; (2) a member of a City board, commission, committee, or task force; (3) an unclassified City employee; or (4) a consultant of the City.
You are subject to the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission, and your activities are regulated by the Ethics Ordinance if you are an unclassified City employee and you are required to to file a Statement of Economic Interests pursuant to the California Political Reform Act of 1974.
No. The Ethics Commission has no jurisdiction over classified City employees, and the provisions of the Ethics Ordinance do not regulate the activities of classified City employees. If, however, you are aware of a violation of the Ethics Ordinance, you are encouraged to file a complaint with the Ethics Commission.
Certain provisions of the Ethics Ordinance do apply to the spouse and dependent children of an employee subject to the ordinance. For example, section 27.3520 of the ordinance provides that a gift accepted by a City Official's spouse may be considered to be a gift to the official. Additionally, section 27.3561 precludes a City Official from knowingly influencing a municipal decision if it is reasonably foreseeable that the municipal decision will have a material financial effect on the financial interests of a spouse or dependent child.
It depends. If you are not required to file a Statement of Economic Interests pursuant to the California Political Reform Act of 1974, you are not considered a "City Official" for the purposes of the Ethics Ordinance. If, however, you are required to file the statement, many provisions of the Ethics Ordinance will apply to you.
According to the Ethics Ordinance, restricted sources include:
The Ethics Commission is available to provide telephonic or written advice regarding these matters.