You are here: Home > Title 4: Ethics > Chapter 403:Elected Officials, Employees, and Board Members

Chapter 403: Elected Officials, Employees, and Board Members

Section 403.01: Training

  1. Every elected official, employee, and board member shall complete an ethics training program approved by the Inspector General within thirty (30) days of first assuming office.  Elected officials and employees shall complete ethics training annually for every year of service with the County thereafter. 
  2. Upon successful completion of any ethics training program, elected officials, employees, and board members shall acknowledge, electronically or in writing, that they have read, understood, and agree to abide by the County ethics policy, including the provisions of this Title, Ohio Revised Code Chapter 102 and Ohio Revised Code Sections 2921.42 and 2921.43.

(Ordinance Nos. O2016-0002, Enacted 4/26/2016, Effective 5/27/2016; O2011-0008, Enacted 4/5/2011, Effective 4/8/2011; O2011-0004, Enacted 1/3/2011, Effective 1/10/2011)

Section 403.02: Use and Misuse of County Resources

  1. “County resources” include, but are not limited to, County personnel, money, procurement/credit cards, vehicles, equipment, materials, supplies, or other property. 
  2. Printing, mailing, or electronic communications of political material or conducting non-county business using county resources is prohibited.
  3. No elected official, employee, or board member shall use or permit the use of County resources for personal or private purposes unless the use of County resources is de minimis or authorized by law or County policy, or the use of County resources is provided as part of his or her official compensation.

(Ordinance No. O2016-0002, Enacted 4/26/2016, Effective 5/27/2016)

 Section 403.03: Use and Misuse of Official Position

  1. No elected official, employee, or board member shall knowingly use his or her official position or official powers and duties to secure a financial or material benefit, or promise of a financial or material benefit, for himself or herself, a relative, or any private organization in which he or she has an interest.
  2. No elected official, employee, or board member shall request without offering just compensation, require, or coerce a subordinate employee to perform any task unreasonably outside the scope of his or her County employment that does not further a County interest, including the performance of any clerical or other work on behalf of the individual, his or her family, business, social, church, or fraternal interest that does not further a County interest, or the purchase of goods or services for personal, business, or political purposes.  Excessive requests by a supervisor to perform tasks unreasonably outside the scope of a subordinate’s County employment may constitute a violation of this Section, regardless of whether just compensation is offered.
  3. No elected official, employee, or board member shall sell or agree to sell, either directly or indirectly through an entity in which he or she holds an interest, goods or services to the County, except through the County’s competitive bidding process consistent with Ohio Revised Code Section 2921.42 et. seq.
  4. No elected official, employee, or board member shall violate the prohibitions applicable to Ohio counties regarding public contracts pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 2921.42 et seq., and any public contracts awarded in violation of Ohio Revised Code Section 2921.42 shall be void and unenforceable.
  5. No elected official, employee, or board member shall knowingly misrepresent his or her personal opinion to be the official position of the County.  This paragraph shall not apply to statements of elected officials made in the course of fulfilling the responsibilities of, or running for, office.
  6. No elected official, employee, or board member shall draw a per diem or expense monies from the County to attend a seminar, convention, or conference and then fail to attend the seminar, convention, or conference without acquiring prior approval from a direct supervisor or refunding the pro-rata unused per diem or expense monies to the County.
  7. No elected official, employee, or board member shall knowingly suppress any public record.
  8. No elected official, employee, or board member shall:
    1. Abuse his or her authority to compel a subordinate employee to endure or participate in sexual conduct; or
    2. Require or coerce a subordinate employee to accept sexual harassment or unwelcome sexual advances as a condition of employment, equal treatment, approval, or advancement.

(Ordinance No. O2016-0002, Enacted 4/26/2016, Effective 5/27/2016)

Section 403.04: Conflicts of Interest

  1. Whenever a matter involving the exercise of discretion comes before an elected official, employee, or board member, either individually or as a member of a body, and the individual knows or has reason to know the disposition of the matter could result in a direct financial or material benefit to himself or herself, a relative, business associate, or any private organization in which he or she has an interest, the individual shall disclose the nature of the interest to the public in an open meeting or in writing to the Inspector General, and shall recuse themselves as required by paragraph (C) and the Ohio Revised Code.
  2. The disclosure required in paragraph (A) shall be made when the matter requiring disclosure first comes before the individual or when the individual first acquires knowledge of the interest requiring disclosure.
  3. No elected official, employee, or board member may participate in any decision or take any official action with respect to any matter involving the exercise of discretion, including discussing the matter and voting on it, when he or she knows or has reason to know that the action could confer a direct financial or material benefit on himself or herself, a relative, or any private organization in which he or she has an interest.
  4. No elected official, employee, or board member shall receive compensation from, or knowingly obtain a financial interest in, any non-County entity in exchange for any service rendered or to be rendered by him or her personally in any case, proceeding, application, or other matter which is before any County agency, department, board, commission or other authority.  No person shall be required to divest themselves of a financial interest in existence at the time he or she initially assumes office or prior to the non-County entity having a matter come before the County, but recusal in accordance with subsection (C) shall be required.
  5. No elected official, employee, commission, board, or body shall appoint any individual who has served the County as an elected official, employee, or board member within the preceding 12 month to any board, commission, or other governmental entity where the Ohio Attorney General’s Index of Compatibility of Public Offices and Positions provides that such appointment is incompatible with the appointee’s position with the County.  If the Index does not address the appointment, the elected official, employee, or board member shall request the opinion of the Inspector General, and shall not make the appointment unless the Inspector General determines the positions are compatible.  In the event the Inspector General is conflicted from rendering a particular opinion, the request shall be made to the Director of Law.  In the event both the Inspector General and Director of Law are conflicted from rendering a particular opinion, the request shall be made for an opinion from the Ohio Attorney General.
  6. If uncertain as to whether a true conflict of interest exists, any elected official, employee, or board member may, before a matter is decided, disclose a potential conflict of interest to the Department of Law or the Inspector General, and request an opinion to determine whether the potential conflict of interest precludes the elected official, employee, or board member’s participation in a particular matter.
  7. No elected official, employee or board member shall be required to recuse himself or herself with respect to the following matters:
    1. Adoption of the County’s biennial budget as a whole; or
    2. Any matter that does not involve the exercise of discretion.

(Ordinance No. O2016-0002, Enacted 4/26/2016, Effective 5/27/2016)

 Section 403.05: Nepotism

  1.  No elected official, employee, or board member, either individually or as a member of a body, may participate in any decision specifically to appoint, hire, promote, discipline, or discharge a relative for any position of the County. 
  2. No elected official, employee, or board member may, either individually or as a member of a body, supervise a relative in the performance of the relative’s official powers and duties.
  3. No public official, employee or board member shall secure any public contract in which the individual, a member of the individual’s family, or any of the individual’s business associates has an interest in violation of Ohio Revised Code Section 2921.42.

(Ordinance No. O2016-0002, Enacted 4/26/2016, Effective 5/27/2016)

Section 403.06: Gifts

  1. All individuals shall comply with the requirements and prohibitions applicable to public officials and employees, as stated in Ohio Revised Code Section 102.03.
  2. No elected official, employee, or board member shall solicit or accept any gift where:
    1. The gift is intended to influence the elected official, employee, or board member in the performance or non-performance of his or her official powers or duties;
    2. The gift is intended as a reward for any official action on the part of the elected official, employee, or board member in violation of Ohio Revised Code Section 2921.43.
  3. Presumption of influence.  Subject to the exceptions listed in subsection (D), the following presumptions shall apply:
    1. A gift or multiple gifts from a contractor or lobbyist within the same calendar year having an annual aggregate face value of seventy-five dollars ($75.00) or more are presumed to influence an elected official, employee, or board member in the performance or non-performance of his or her official powers or duties.
    2. A gift to an elected official, employee, or board member is presumed to be intended to influence the performance or non-performance of his or her official powers or duties when the gift is from a private person or organization that seeks County action involving the exercise of discretion by or with the participation of the individual.
    3. A gift to an elected official, employee, or board member is presumed to be intended as a reward for official action when the gift is from a private person or organization that has obtained County action involving the exercise of discretion by or with the participation of the individual during the preceding twelve months.
  4. Notwithstanding the provisions in subsection (B), the following gifts shall not carry a presumption of influence:
    1. Gifts made to the County;
    2. Gifts given on special occasions, such as marriage, illness, or retirement, which are reasonable and customary, and which do not otherwise constitute a substantial and improper influence on the recipient;
    3. Meals and refreshments provided when an elected official, employee, or board member is in his or her professional capacity a speaker or participant at a job-related conference or program, and the meals and refreshments are made available to all participants;
    4. Invitations to or attendance at charitable fundraisers or community events that provide meals of an ordinary character and do not include entertainment of a significant value;
    5. Anything for which an elected official, employee, or board member pays face value, or at a discount available to all county employees or the general public;
    6. Any campaign contribution that is otherwise lawfully received and reported under this Code and general law.

(Ordinance No. O2016-0002, Enacted 4/26/2016, Effective 5/27/2016)

Section 403.07: Financial Disclosure

  1. Elected officials shall file an annual disclosure statement directly with the Ohio Ethics Commission or the appropriate filing agency by the deadline prescribed by the Ohio Ethics Commission.
  2. On or before April 15 of each year, the following employees shall file an annual disclosure statement with the Inspector General on the Financial Disclosure Statement form prescribed by the Ohio Ethics Commission, unless otherwise required by Ohio law to file such a statement directly with the Ohio Ethics Commission: 
    1. All officers and directors appointed pursuant to Article V, Section 7.03, Section 8.02, Section 9.06, Section 10.01, and Section 11.03 of the Cuyahoga County Charter;
    2. Any other director-level or officer-level position of the county appointed pursuant to the County Charter or County Code, including but not limited to, directors of departments established by ordinance, Health and Human Services administrators, and the Inspector General;
    3. Chief of staff and/or First Assistant to the County Executive, County Council, and County Prosecutor;
    4. Deputies Chiefs or similarly titled employees within Office of the County Executive to which any county officer or director reports. 
    5. Board of Revision hearing officers; and
    6. The Clerk of County Council.
  3. Any employee appointed to occupy a position listed in subsection (B) who has not previously filed a financial disclosure statement for the year preceding his or her appointment shall file a financial disclosure statement for that year with the Inspector General within thirty (30) days of appointment to his or her new position.  The requirements of this section shall also apply to any former employee or elected official of the county who, within the prior calendar year, held one or more of the positions identified in paragraph (A) or (B) of this section. 
  4. If the filing deadlines in paragraph (B) falls on a non-business day, the filing deadline shall be extended to the next regular business day.    

    (Ordinance No. O2016-0002, Enacted 4/26/2016, Effective 5/27/2016)

    Section 403.08: Secondary Employment

    1. All elected officials and employees shall disclose the following types of secondary employment in writing to the Department of Human Resources on an official form approved by the Inspector General, and shall keep such information up to date throughout their term of employment with the County:
      1. Any compensated employment or private business activity outside the elected official’s or employee’s primary status with the County that results in gross income required to be reported by the United States Internal Revenue Service, excluding interest income, dividends, other corporate contributions, alimony, income from life insurance or endowment, income in respect of a decedent, retirement plans, pensions and annuities, and social security, PERS, or equivalent retirement benefits; or
      2. Any compensated or uncompensated fiduciary interest with an entity that receives funding from the County.
    2. The Department of Human Resources shall transmit a copy of each secondary employment disclosure form to the Inspector General.
    3. In the event the Inspector General determines a county employee’s employment violates an express prohibition or creates a conflict of interest where mandatory recusal would preclude the employee from performing a substantial portion of his or her job duties, the employee shall either terminate his or her secondary employment or face dismissal from service with the County. Elected officials holding secondary employment shall recuse themselves in accordance with Section 403.04.
    4. Employees shall request approval from the Inspector General within thirty (30) days of accepting any secondary employment.  The Inspector General may limit the type of classifications of secondary employment that require disclosure.  The Inspector General shall render an opinion within fourteen (14) days of the Inspector General receiving the request from the Department of Human Resources in accordance with Section 407.01(J).

    (Ordinance No. O2016-0002, Enacted 4/26/2016, Effective 5/27/2016)

    Section 403.09: Future Employment

    1. No present or former elected official or employee shall, during public service or for twelve months thereafter, represent or act in a representative capacity for any person or organization on any matter involving the exercise of discretion by the county or any agent thereof, in which the present or former elected official or employee, personally participated in his or her capacity as a County official. 
    2. Elected officials and employees shall disclose to the Inspector General any employment offers, or ongoing discussions of future employment, with any entity presently dealing with the County concerning matters within the scope of the individual’s current official duties.
    3. This section shall not be construed as prohibiting an elected official, or employee from representing himself or herself before the County, or asserting a claim against the County on his or her own behalf, nor shall this section prohibit any individual from representing a person or organization on an uncompensated basis.

    (Ordinance No. O2016-0002, Enacted 4/26/2016, Effective 5/27/2016)

    Section 403.10: Discrimination

    No elected official, employee, or board member shall discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, religion, national origin, age, sex, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, or genetic information.

    (Ordinance No. O2016-0002, Enacted 4/26/2016, Effective 5/27/2016)

    Section 403.11: Political Contributions from County Employees

    1. No elected official shall knowingly solicit or accept a campaign contribution from any County employee over whom he or she has appointing authority or confirmation authority, either individually or as a member of a body.  No elected official shall knowingly solicit or accept a campaign contribution from an employee whose County confirmation is pending.
    2. No employee shall knowingly make a campaign contribution to, or solicit funds for a campaign for public office conducted by or for their own elected employer or confirming authority.  Employees shall not be prohibited from making voluntary contributions to political parties or candidates for any other public office.
    3. The prohibitions of this Section shall not apply to employees or elected officials whose service with the county has terminated.
    4. An elected official or employee may request an opinion from the Inspector General prior to accepting, soliciting, or making a campaign contribution.  The Inspector General shall provide an opinion within fourteen (14) days of receiving the request; provided however that the Inspector General shall not be required to conduct a review of political contributions on behalf of any candidate or political campaign.
    (Ordinance No. O2016-0002, Enacted 4/26/2016, Effective 5/27/2016)

    Section 403.12: Whistleblowers

    All elected officials, employees, and board members shall have whistleblower rights and responsibilities as specified in Chapter 406 of this Code.

    (Ordinance No. O2016-0002, Enacted 4/26/2016, Effective 5/27/2016)

    Section 403.13:  Partisan Political Activity by Classified Civil Service Employees

    All elected officials, employees and board members are subject to the rules regarding political activity pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Chapter 124 and Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 123, as is now or hereafter incorporated by Chapter 303 of the Cuyahoga County Code.

    (Ordinance No. O2016-0002, Enacted 4/26/2016, Effective 5/27/2016)