How to File an Ethics Complaint Against a Metro Official - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NC5 Investigates: General Sessions Court

How to File an Ethics Complaint Against a Metro Official


A 2007 Metro law, passed following the Tennessee Waltz corruption scandal, allows Metro voters to file ethics complaints against their elected officials. (Click here to read the Metro law.)

Among the conduct prohibited by the law, Metro officials and employees:

i.   Shall not use their metropolitan government positions improperly to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for themselves, relatives or others, provided, however, that this provision does not preclude employees from acting in a manner consistent with their official duties or from zealously providing public services to anyone who is entitled to them;
k.   Shall not give reasonable basis by their conduct for the impression that any person can improperly influence, or unduly enjoy their favor in, the performance of their official duties, or that they are unduly affected by the kinship, rank, position or influence of any person;

Any person may submit a complaint alleging that any one or more metropolitan government elected officials or members of a metropolitan government board or commission have violated the standards of conduct, according to the law.

The complaint must be signed by the complainant and notarized, and must contain the following:

i.   Complainant's legal name and current mailing address;
ii.   Names of person or persons who committed the alleged violation;
iii.   Summary of the facts giving rise to the complaint; and,
iv.   Explanation of why those facts constitute a violation of the standards of conduct.

The complaint must be filed with the metropolitan clerk.

Complaints against elected officials or members of Metro boards or commissions would be heard by a Board of Ethical Conduct. If, after a hearing, the board decides that a Metro official has violated the standards of conduct, then the board can:

i.   Recommend to the Metro Council that the elected official or member of the board or commission be censured;
ii.   Recommend to the violating elected official or member of a board or commission resign his or her respective position;
iii.   Refer the matter to the district attorney general for appropriate action; and/or,
iv.   Refer the matter to the director of law with a request that appropriate civil action be instituted by the metropolitan government for restitution or other relief.

Complaints regarding a Metro government employee must be made to the appropriate person who appointed that employee.

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