Board of Ethics Advisory Opinions

Board of Ethics FAQ

The Ethics Ordinance was enacted by the City Council in 2000 and amended in 2006, 2010 and 2012. It establishes disclosure requirements and standards of conduct applicable to all public servants.

The purpose of the Ordinance is ensure that governmental decisions are made in the public’s best interest by prohibiting public servants from participating in matters that affect their personal or government interest. (Section 2-6-1) The Ethics Ordinance is intended to establish clear disclosure requirements and standards of conduct for all public servants of the City of Detroit. The purpose is further defined as intending to declare integrity in governmental decision making, operations and processes as a fundamental value and policy of city government to which all public servants in city government should strive to adhere at all times.

The Board of Ethics is an independent board established by 1997 Detroit City Charter.  The Board is a seven-member body composed of residents of the City appointed by the Mayor and City Council.  One member is jointly appointed by the Mayor and City Council.

The City of Detroit Board of Ethics has jurisdiction over the following public servants as defined in the City of Detroit Ethics Ordinance:

Public servant means the Mayor, members of City Council, City Clerk, appointive officers, any member of a board, commission or other voting body established by either branch of City government or the 2012 Charter and any appointee, any employee or any individual who provides services to the City within or outside of its offices or facilities pursuant to a personal services contract. In addition, the Board has limited authority to review the conduct of contractors, vendor and lobbyists. 

Contractor means a party who, or which, seeks to enter,or enters, into a contract with the City for the delivery of goods or services, but does not mean one who seeks to enter or enters, into a personal services contract, as defined in this section, with the City.

The Board of Ethics role is to investigate and resolve complaints regarding alleged violations of the Ethics Ordinance by public servants, contractors, vendors and lobbyist and to issue advisory opinions regarding the meaning and application of provisions of the Charter, City Ordinances, other laws, or regulations establishing standards of conduct for public servants.

A complaint is a sworn statement alleging a violation of the Ethics Ordinance against public servant or other covered persons. Any member of the public may file a complaint with the Board where a person believes there has been a violation of the Ordinance.

Any member of the public may file a complaint with the Board where a person believes there has been a violation of the Ordinance.

An advisory opinion is a written opinion of the Board addressing a question of ethical conduct by a public servant.  Advisory opinions are filed with the City Clerk. Advisory opinions are rendered upon written request by a public servant by submitting a "Request for Advisory Opinion Form". The request must relate to the  requesting public servant's own conduct and must be related to a question regarding the Standards of Conduct or the Disclosure Requirements enumerated in the Ethics Ordinance.

Advisory opinions are rendered upon written request by a public servant. The request must relate to the requesting public servants own conduct and must be related to a question regarding the Standards of Conduct or the Disclosure Requirements enumerated in the Ethics Ordinance.

The Board members are volunteers, however, the Executive Director and Ethics Coordinator are available in the office to answer questions, assist with the completion of forms and to respond to inquiries.

Board of Ethics Meeting Location

7737 Kercheval, Suite #213, Detroit, MI 48214
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The Board meets monthly on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 2:00 pm.  The schedule for the year is issued in January and posted on the 1st and 12th floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, City Clerk Offices, and Recreational Centers. Meetings are conducted in the Butzel Family Center Conference Room unless otherwise posted.  All meetings are open the public.

Board of Ethics Meeting Location

7737 Kercheval, Suite #213, Detroit, MI 48214
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The Board of Ethics website address is www.detroitmi.gov/boardofethics. Copies of the Charter Provision regarding the Board and the Ethics Ordinance are available online.  All forms required by the Ordinance are also available.