Mayor Andy Berke issued his first executive order as mayor of Chattanooga, on Tuesday morning. The order "effectively strengthens the city’s existing Code of Ethics while increasing measures to ensure every employee has a clear understanding of ethical expectations as well as consequences."
“I feel strongly, as does our community, that city employees must always make decisions in the best interest of our citizens. This Executive Order is a strong signal that any partial or conflicted behavior will not be tolerated in my administration,” said Mayor Berke.
“Through my Executive Order, I am holding city of Chattanooga employees to the highest ethical standards and clearly spelling out unacceptable behavior in my administration. I will not tolerate the use of public office for private gain. I will not allow employees to give preferential treatment to any person if it contradicts the very best interest of our citizens. Employees must be impartial in every decision and must always act in a way that upholds the integrity of the city of Chattanooga.”
In addition to clarifying the existing Code of Ethics ordinance, the Executive Order goes a step further by adding the additional measures:
- Ethics Pledge for Mayor’s Staff, Appointed positions, and board appointments;
- Duty to Report that clearly requires employees to report any known wrongdoing;
- Employee Contracts are required to have an added Ethics provision;
- Access to Ethics training for all employees.
In addition to the Mayor’s Executive Order, Mayor Berke has instructed the Office of the City Attorney to update the Code of Ethics Ordinance. One of these updates will include forming an internal Ethics Committee to assist in the review of ethics complaints. This Ethics Committee will consist of the city financial officer, director of Human Resources, and chairperson of the City Council.
“These are values I strongly believe in and they demonstrate that I will run the government as Chattanoogans demand – honest, responsible, and ethical. Through this Executive Order, I’m proud to strengthen the City’s ethical standards not just for today and tomorrow but for years to come,” said Mayor Berke.
The Executive Order goes into effect immediately. Changes to the City Ordinance will be presented to City Council on Feb. 11.