Filing an Ethics Complaint

Details such as appointment and approval of Ethics Commissioners, meeting requirements, and so on are well defined in the Ordinance - if a citizen would like to see the ordinance assigned and approved, physical copies may be obtained at City Hall. Outside of a required annual meeting in February, you should be aware that the Commission is only required to meet to consider complaints when they are lodged, so meetings may not take place regularly.

The paragraphs below are provided as guidance if you wish to file a complaint. The information below references sections of the Ordinance.

Ethics Commission Complaint Policy


(Readers are encouraged to consult the Ethics Ordinance)
  • I. The Complaint Policy shall apply to matters involving the City of Tybee Island City Officials.
  • II. The Complaint Policy shall apply to all complaints brought before the Ethics Commission.
  • III. The Complaint must be in writing, signed, and sworn to before a notary. In the event a Complaint is filed by more
  • than one citizen, there must be a single contact person listed and the Complaint must list their contact information -
  • name, mailing address, phone number, and email address. The Complaint must fully describe the circumstances,
  • and state the question to be answered.
  • IV. Upon dismissal, the City Official and Complainant will be notified in writing.

Ethics Complaint Procedure


I. Complainant delivers the complaint to the Clerk of Council. It should indicate if the accused is a City Employee, an Elected Official or the Clerk of Council, City Attorney, City Manager,  
    or Municipal Judge.

 The Clerk of Council is to:
  • (1) refer all City Employee complaints directly to the City Manager.
  • (2) refer complaints regarding Clerk of Council, City Attorney, City Manager or Municipal Judge to the Mayor and Council.
  • (3) refer complaint regarding an Elected Official to the Ethics Commission.

  AND

  • (1) review the complaint for a signature, notarization., and contact information - printed name, mailing address, phone number, email address. (In the event a complaint is filed by more than one citizen, there must be a single contact person listed.) If the complaint is not signed, notarized , or contact information is not included then the complaint will be returned to the complainant for compliance.
  • (2) date, stamp and initial the complaint.
  • (3) give a receipt letter (check list) to the complainant.
  • (4) deliver the complaint to the presiding Commission officer within 5 business days.
  • (5) deliver the complaint as set forth above to the City Manager, Mayor and Council or the presiding Ethics Commission Officer within 5 business days.
II. Complaint Reviewed

A. City Manager receives employee complaints
  • (1) Reviews the complaint in accordance with the employee complaint policy.

B. Mayor and Council receives complaint regarding Clerk of Council, City Attorney, City Manger, or Municipal Judge and reviews the complaint for action in accordance with procedures similar to the Ethics Commission procedures.

C. Ethics Commission receives all other complaints.

  • (1) Deficient claims shall be returned to complainant within 7 business days with letter explaining deficiencies.
  • (2) Complainant may re-submit complaint with deficiencies corrected within 7 business days.
  • (3) Complainant may withdraw complaint.
  • (4) Documented sufficient complaint handled by the Ethics Commission.
III. Ethics Commission Review
A. Copy of complaint shall be delivered to accused via registered mail within 7 business days of determination that complaint is not technically deficient

B. Accused may reply in writing to the complaint within such time as directed by the Ethics Commission, not to exceed 30 days.

  • (1) If the accused agrees that a violation has occurred, no further investigation will take place 
  • (2) For an agreed violation the case will be reported to the City Council for disposition.

C. The Ethics Commission investigatory review shall be held within 30 days from date of response by accused.

  • (1) Unsubstantiated claims shall be dismissed.
  • (2) Substantiated claims shall proceed to an informal conference between all parties (including any attorney representing the party) and the Ethics Commission members.
IV. If informal discussion does not resolve the issues, the Ethics Commission shall hold a formal public hearing within 45 days from conclusion of the informal discussion.
A. Certified written notice shall be given to each party.

B. Each party shall be given the opportunity to present their case.  The parties may be represented by legal counsel at their choice.  Parties my present evidence to supplement the petition and the response with further documentary evidence or witnesses.  Additional documentary evidence or witnesses shall not duplicate existing information already presented.  Formal rules of evidence do not apply.
 
V. The Ethics Commission shall deliberates in private and issue a public written determination within 30 days, signed by the Chairman of the Commission.
A. Violators shall be reported to City Council with recommendation for disposition.

B. Non-violator's cases shall be dismissed

VI. City Council shall make determination and implementation of any action.