LAYTON - City leaders have approved an agreement with three other communities to address potential ethics concerns against elected officials in their communities as well as top administrators in city government.
The city council voted unanimously Thursday to join Roy, Clearfield and Bountiful to create a municipal ethics commission in response to state legislative action in 2012 that allows for ethics cases to be handled by local governmental bodies or by a state ethics group.
The setup is expected to allow city attorneys from participating cities to form a panel to hear grievances from neighbors, while allowing the city attorney from the community where the grievance is filed to potentially defend the city official under review, City Attorney Gary Crane said.
The Clearfield city council has already voted to approve the interlocal agreement and councils in Roy and Bountiful are expected to consider the new ethics commission in the near future.
"I think this is a really good way to do it. It's kind of a model," Crane said. "It's a good way to go, with unbiased individuals outside the city looking at complaints that have been filed. It pretty much follows state law," Crane added.
Crane said Ogden City has also expressed some interest in potentially joining the Top of Utah ethics commission.
Without the local group, ethics complaints against elected officials or city administrators would be heard by a state ethics group. He said the local group will lack the formality of the state commission, while following the same guidelines.
Any findings by the group commission would not be binding, because it would still be up to individual city governments to address the violation in the end, Crane said. The guidelines stipulate the group would not hear any criminal cases.
Each community will be required to file a report on the number of cases filed at the end of each year, Crane said.