FARMINGTON — Establishing a citizens ethics review commission to hear complaints directed at Davis County elected leaders is expected to resolve differences on a local level in a more timely manner.
On Tuesday, the Davis County Commission unanimously approved an ordinance providing for the establishment of a three-member Ethics Review Commission.
The commission will consist of individuals who are not county public employees, Davis County Civil Deputy Bill McGuire said.
“They are going to be citizens (who are appointed)," he said.
Davis County Commissioner Bret Millburn said he is unaware of any ethics violation complaints being lodged against Davis leaders since being in office, or even prior to that.
But establishing the commission, a direct result of state lawmakers giving the county the opportunity to do so, Millburn said, will give local entities the option of hearing those complaints directed at its officials, which in theory should make for a more responsive review.
All complaints will be heard within 60 calendar days of their acceptance, according to the ordinance.
Prior to the establishing of the new ethics review commission, McGuire said, ethics violation complaints would have likely been heard by the Davis County Commission.
“I’m not sure that we have ever had one," McGuire said of an ethics complaint being alleged.
“The (ethics review) commission may hold a hearing to determine if an ethical violation actually occurred,” the ordinance states.
The ordinance allows the county to take “prompt action” in making sure everything is being done above board, Davis County Deputy Attorney Neal C. Geddes said.
“It provides a direct ability for county residents to make claims and have them resolved at a local level," he said.
Senate Bill 180 approved during the 2012 Legislative session authorized counties to create their own ordinance as it relates to ethics complaints.
The ordinance, drafted by McGuire, addresses how to submit ethics complaints against a county officer, how the complaint will be processed and how the complaint will be investigated.
The ordinance also provides an appeal to a state ethics review board on the condition the complainant is unsatisfied with the findings and the decision made at the local level, Geddes said.
The county has not yet determined the actual members of the ethics review commission, Geddes said, but it is looking at having a three-member commission.
“The commission may subpoena witnesses, direct the production of evidence, and/or authorize parties to issue subpoenas. The commission shall administer oaths to witnesses prior to any testimony before the commission,” the ordinance states.
Members of the review commission for each day in session are to receive a stipend yet to be determined by the county commission.