SANTA MONICA—The city of Santa Monica has created a new and easy-to-use way for residents to share information about possible ethics violations by city officials and staff. The city is committed to creating a better city government and building a relationship of trust between the government and its residents. Tips can be reported by phone, email, or web 24 hours a day.
Tips can be made at:
“Council and City Officials take ethical allegations very seriously and will investigate all reports,” said Mayor Tony Vazquez in a press release. “The new ethics tip line will be a valuable, but hopefully rarely needed, service where the public can provide information about an ethics violation any time, any day.”
The City Council adopted a values-based Code of Ethics built on the principles of fairness, transparency, accountability, and integrity to strengthen the City’s commitment to the highest standards of good governance. The code reflects the high ethical standards performed by city staff and was created using best practices from the Institute of Local Governance and International City Manager’s Association (ICMA).
In relation to the newly created tip line, city staff is working on new communication tactics and ethics resources so that all staff will know exactly the requirements of the highest ethical ideals. Examples of the new resources include an Administrative Instruction outlining how ethics investigations will be handled, and ongoing training for all staff.
In the past, Santa Monica has been without a values-based Code of Ethics, but the day-to-day standards of ethical behavior by the staff were consistently high. State law, local law, and long-standing administrative instructions have detailed expectations for ethics throughout the years.
By adopting a values-based Code of Ethics, the city is reinforcing the expectations while also granting more resources and training so that staff can be better in ethical dilemmas.