Ethics Resources

The work of the LMC Ethics Advisory Panel resulted in two documents—the Model Statement of Values and the Template Code of Conduct.

Model Statement of Values

The Model Statement of Values is an aspirational document, intended to provide a framework for ethical decision-making. The values it promotes can only be self-enforced, primarily by providing an ethical anchor, raising the quality of discussion and expectation among city officials and in the community, and by appealing to the conscience of the individual. It would be difficult and likely counterproductive to suggest that such values could be subject to formal review or enforcement action.

Cities may choose to use the Model Statement of Values in a variety of ways, including:

  • Simply provide a copy to all elected officials, advisory commission members, and even city staff members for their reference.
  • Use it as the basis for a local workshop or just a discussion to encourage more city and community dialogue about what ethics means in your city.
  • Consider formally adopting it as a statement of the way in which city officials and the community would like to see public business conducted.

Cities are free, and even encouraged, to review the document in detail and make any deletions, additions, or modifications your local officials feel are appropriate.

Template Code of Conduct

The Template Code of Conduct is a law-based document, incorporating very specific standards of behavior that are already written into state statute or that have been handed down by court rulings. The Code of Conduct also offers legal methods for dealing with infractions. By adopting this code at the municipal level, a city council can take self-initiated action to see that these standards are upheld in the community, rather than having to wait on civil litigation initiated by citizens or criminal prosecution by the county attorney.

The Template Code of Conduct should be considered for formal adoption as a city ordinance. The template can locally codify existing and relatively well articulated standards of conduct already required by state law, so enforcement through quasi-judicial review is feasible. When adopting the code, cities need to consider to whom the code applies. Cities also need to formulate a hearing procedure.

This document has been carefully reviewed by LMC legal counsel, and it is recommended that any modifications be considered only after careful review by the city attorney. Cities that choose not to formally adopt the template may still find the document to be a useful and concise reference piece for individual city officials.

Read about the LMC Ethics Advisory Panel

Return to the main Ethics page