Boards, Auth. and Committees

Ethics Board

(1) Any person may initiate a complaint of a violation of this article by submitting a written, verified and sworn complaint under the penalty of perjury or false swearing to the county attorney. The complaint shall specifically identify all provisions of the county code of ethics which the subject of the complaint is alleged to have violated, set forth facts as would be admissible in evidence in an administrative proceeding and show affirmatively that the complainant or affiant (if in addition to or different than the complainant) is competent to testify to the matter set forth therein. All documents referenced in the complaint as well as supporting affidavits shall be attached to the complaint.

(2) The complaint must be filed within six months from the date the alleged violation occurred, or in the case of concealment or nondisclosure, within six months from the date the alleged violation should have been discovered after due diligence. A complaint filed more than six months after the alleged violation occurred or was discovered shall not be considered under any circumstance. However, no complaint may be filed against a candidate between the qualifying date for election of such candidate and the date of the candidate's general election or runoff election, if necessary. Complaints alleging violations during this period may be filed commencing upon the date immediately following the general election or runoff election, if necessary, and the six-month period shall run from that date.

(3) Upon receipt of the complaint, the county attorney shall immediately deliver the complaint to the hearing officer who shall review the complaint to determine if it meets the technical requirements set forth in subsections (a)(1) and (2) of this section. If the complaint fails to meet these requirements, the hearing officer shall notify the person who filed the complaint and he shall have ten days from the date of notice to correct and re-file the same directly with the hearing officer. A complaint which fails to satisfy the technical requirements of this article following one amendment shall be dismissed.

(4) If the complaint meets all of the technical requirements of this article, the hearing officer shall forward the complaint to the county attorney within five days of his decision or as soon thereafter as practicable.

(5) Within five days after receiving the complaint from the hearing officer, the county attorney shall forward the complaint to the board of commissioners, the district attorney, the president of the Gwinnett County Bar Association, the chairman of the local government section of the State Bar of Georgia, and the employee who is the subject of the ethics complaint. Each such appointing authority shall appoint its member to the ethics board within 30 days after receiving the complaint or as soon thereafter as practicable.

Temporary/As Needed.

(1) Other than the member appointed by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia who shall be excluded from subsections (d)(1), (d)(2) and (d)(6) of this section, a person is eligible to be appointed as a member of the board of ethics, if the person:

      a. Is a current resident of the county;

      b. Has resided in the county for 60 consecutive months prior to the date of appointment;

      c. Is a registered voter;

      d. Is not an employee or official of the county or any municipality within the county and has not been an employee or official of the county during the five years immediately preceding his appointment, and is not the spouse, parent, child or sibling of any employee, official or county commissioner of the county;

      e. Is not an employee of any political party; and

      f. Does not hold any elected or appointed office and is not a candidate for office of the United States, this state or this county, and has not held any elected or appointed office during the five years immediately preceding his appointment. This subsection shall not apply to part-time federal or state appointed positions.

(2) If at any time during his service on the board of ethics a member becomes ineligible to serve, he shall automatically be removed and the appointing authority shall appoint a new member in accordance with the provisions for original appointment.

(3) The ethics board shall be a temporary board for the specific purpose of investigating a complaint which has been approved by the hearing officer and all other like complaints which have been properly filed while the board is in session. The ethics board should whenever possible, endeavor to consolidate for a single hearing all ethics complaints filed contemporaneously against the same employee, official, individual, or entity which arise out of a common nucleus of operative facts. The board shall expire upon disposition of the complaint or complaints for which it was created or which it was otherwise authorized to hear.

(1) The ethics board shall meet, receive evidence, deliberate and vote in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1 et seq., and all parties shall have the opportunity to be heard, to summon witnesses and to present evidence. Persons alleged to have violated this ethics ordinance shall have the right to be represented by counsel at their own expense.

(2) The ethics board shall have the right and power to issue a subpoena or subpoenas to a witness or witnesses on its behalf, or on behalf of any party, for the appearance of any witness and/or for the production of documents or tangible items, so as to properly investigate the complaint.

(3) The chairman of the ethics board shall determine when it shall meet and the number of meetings and hearings necessary to investigate the complaint.

(4) Three members of the board of ethics shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business and for voting purposes. The chairman shall be entitled to the same voting rights as other members.

(5) At the conclusion of the investigation, the ethics board shall deliberate upon the evidence gathered and shall determine its findings by majority vote. The board shall find that each alleged violation is either "sustained" or "not-sustained." Findings that a violation of this article has occurred shall be based upon the preponderance of the evidence. The board's findings shall be reduced to writing and provided to the parties, to the county board of commissioners and to the office of the appropriate prosecutorial agency if the board finds evidence of possible criminal violations. It shall further be the duty of the ethics board to make non-binding recommendations to the board of commissioners as to the appropriate penalties to be administered under section 54-38 for sustained violations of this article and for other operational or remedial measures which would prevent further violations of a like nature.

There are no active members.