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Chapter 1.03 Code of Ethics

City Code Chapter

(Chapter added by Ordinance 167619, effective May 4, 1994.)

1.03.010 Definitions.

  1. A.  “City official” means any elected official, employee, appointee to a board or commission, or citizen volunteer authorized to act on behalf of the City of Portland, Oregon.
  2. B.  “Ethics” means positive principles of conduct.  Some ethical requirements are enforced by federal, state, or local law.  Others rely on training, or on individuals’ desire to do the right thing.  The provisions of this Chapter which are not elsewhere enforced by law shall be considered advisory only.

1.03.020 Trust.

  1. The purpose of City government is to serve the public.  City officials treat their office as a public trust.
  2. A.  The City’s powers and resources are used for the benefit of the public rather than any official’s personal benefit.
  3. B.  City officials ensure public respect by avoiding even the appearance of impropriety.
  4. C.  Policymakers place long-term benefit to the public as a whole above all other considerations, including important individuals and special interests.  However, the public interest includes protecting the rights of under-represented minorities.
  5. D.  Administrators implement policies in good faith as equitably and economically as possible, regardless of their personal views.
  6. E.  Whistle-blowing is appropriate on unlawful or improper actions.
  7. F.  Citizens have a fair and equal opportunity to express their views to City officials.
  8. G.  City officials do not give the appearance of impropriety or personal gain by accepting personal gifts.
  9. H.  City officials devote City resources, including paid time, working supplies and capital assets, to benefit the public.
  10. I.  Political campaigns are not conducted on City time or property.

1.03.030 Objectivity.

  1. City officials’ decisions are based on the merits of the issues.  Judgment is independent and objective.
  2. A.  City officials avoid financial conflict of interest and do not accept benefits from people requesting to affect decisions.
  3. B.  If an individual official’s financial or personal interests will be specifically affected by a decision, the official is to withdraw from participating in the decision.
  4. C.  City officials avoid bias or favoritism, and respect cultural differences as part of decision-making.
  5. D.  Intervention on behalf of constituents or friends is limited to assuring fairness of procedures, clarifying policies or improving service for citizens.

1.03.040 Accountability.

  1. Open government allows citizens to make informed judgments and to hold officials accountable.
  2. A.  City officials exercise their authority with open meetings and public records.
  3. B.  Officials who delegate responsibilities also follow up to make sure the work is carried out efficiently and ethically.
  4. C.  Campaigns for election should allow the voters to make an informed choice on appropriate criteria.
  5. D.  Each City employee is encouraged to improve City systems by identifying problems and proposing improvements.
  6. E.  City government systems are self-monitoring, with procedures in place to promote appropriate actions.

1.03.050 Leadership.

  1. A. City officials obey all laws and regulations.
  2. B. City officials do not exploit loopholes.
  3. C. Leadership facilitates, rather than blocks, open discussion.
  4. D. Officials avoid discreditable personal conduct and are personally honest.
  5. E. All City bureaus and work teams are encouraged to develop detailed ethical standards, training, and enforcement.
  6. F. The City Auditor will publish a pamphlet containing explanations and examples of ethical principles.