Chapter 2.80


2.80.010    Policy.

2.80.020    Adoption of state law.

2.80.030    Statute of limitations.

2.80.040    Hearing officer.

2.80.050    Processing of complaints.

2.80.060    Penalties.

2.80.010 Policy.

A. The city of Port Townsend is committed to conducting its business in a fair, open, efficient, and accountable manner. Municipal officers shall conduct their public and private actions and financial dealings in a manner that shall present no conflict of interest between the public trust and their private interest. Each municipal officer is assumed and expected to act in accordance with all laws that may apply to his or her position.

B. Each municipal officer shall be trained on the requirements of this code as soon as practicable after beginning appointment to or employment with the city. Refresher training shall be provided at least every two years.

C. This code does not address issues of sexual harassment, discrimination, workplace rules or personnel policies, or other activities prohibited by law or regulated by city policies. (Ord. 3177 § 1 (Exh. A), 2017).

2.80.020 Adoption of state law.

A. General. Except as provided for in this chapter, the city adopts as its code of ethics Chapter 42.23 of the Revised Code of Washington (“RCW”). This chapter shall apply to all municipal officers as defined in RCW 42.23.020.

B. Gifts.

1. Except as amended in this chapter, the city adopts the following RCW sections: 42.52.010(8), (9), and (20), 42.52.140, and 42.52.150, except RCW 42.52.150(2)(g), (h), (i), and (l).

2. Where the statutes listed in subsection (B)(1) of this section use the terms “state,” “state officer,” or “state employee,” those terms shall apply to the city or to municipal officers of the city as appropriate.

3. Where the statutes listed in subsection (B)(1) of this section refer to other sections in Chapter 42.52 RCW, those references shall be to the comparable section in Chapter 42.23 RCW. If there is no comparable section in Chapter 42.23 RCW, the statutes adopted in subsection (B)(1) of this section shall not apply. (Ord. 3177 § 1 (Exh. A), 2017).

2.80.030 Statute of limitations.

Any complaint related to a violation of this chapter must be filed with the city clerk not later than three years from the alleged date of the violation. (Ord. 3177 § 1 (Exh. A), 2017).

2.80.040 Hearing officer.

A. Ethics Hearing Officer Position Created. There is created and established the position of “ethics hearing officer” (“hearing officer”) for the city of Port Townsend. The council shall appoint a hearing officer and may appoint one or more alternate hearing officers. The first alternate hearing officer shall serve as the hearing officer if the hearing officer is unavailable or unable to serve, and the second alternate shall serve if the hearing officer and first alternate are unavailable or unable to serve.

B. Qualification. A hearing officer must be an active member of the Washington State Bar Association, have at least seven years of experience as a lawyer, have no record of public discipline, and have experience as an adjudicator or as an advocate in contested adjudicative hearings.

C. Powers. The hearing officer, when assigned by council or the city manager, has the authority to conduct independent investigations and to conduct hearings related to violations of this chapter. (Ord. 3177 § 1 (Exh. A), 2017).

2.80.050 Processing of complaints.

A. Written Complaint. Any person may submit a written complaint to the city clerk that a municipal officer has violated this chapter. The allegation must set forth specific facts with precision and detail. In addition, the complaint must set forth the specific sections and subsections of this code that the facts violate and the reasons why. Each complaint must state the submitter’s legal name and a method by which the submitter may be contacted. The city clerk shall promptly deliver a copy of the complaint to the individual complained against.

B. Elected Officials – City Manager. Complaints against elected officials and the city manager shall be automatically assigned to a hearing officer. The hearing officer shall dismiss a complaint if, assuming all facts alleged are true, there is no violation of this chapter or that any violation was minor. The hearing officer will submit a report to the city council, with a copy to the complainant and the person against whom the complaint was filed.

C. Employees – Advisory Board Members. Complaints regarding city employees and officials, and members of advisory bodies, shall be brought to the employee’s supervisor, manager, or to the city manager. The supervisor, or appropriate individual as determined by the city manager, shall investigate the complaint and provide a report to the city manager.

D. Hearings shall generally be conducted in accordance with the city’s then-current adopted version of the hearing examiner’s rules of procedure. (Ord. 3177 § 1 (Exh. A), 2017).

2.80.060 Penalties.

A. Elected officials may be disciplined as provided for in state law or the council’s rules of procedure.

B. The city manager may be disciplined as provided for in state law, the city’s personnel policy manual, or the manager’s employment contract.

C. Employees may be disciplined as provided for in state law, the city’s personnel policy manual, or the applicable collective bargaining agreement.

D. Members of advisory boards may be disciplined as provided for in state law or the council’s rules of procedure. (Ord. 3177 § 1 (Exh. A), 2017).


Prior legislation: Ords. 2786, 2801 and 2830.