Frequently Asked Questions
- How is the Ethics Commission funded?
- Can I attend meetings of the Ethics Commission?
- What is the purpose of the request for an opinion?
- Who actually issues the opinion?
- What is the effect of a probable cause determination?
- If the Ethics Commission holds a public hearing resulting from a complaint I have filed, what is my role at the hearing?
- As an alleged violator of an ordinance, what rights do I have in the event the Commission finds probable cause?
- What penalties can the Ethics Commission assess?
How is the Ethics Commission funded?
Currently, the exclusive funding source for the Commission is Miami-Dade County. The Ethics Commission may accept grants, contributions or appropriations from the federal government, state government, any municipality within Miami-Dade County, or any academic institution or nonprofit entity which has not entered into a contract or transacted business with the County.
Can I attend meetings of the Ethics Commission?
What is the purpose of the request for an opinion?
Employees and officials are occasionally faced with situations where they are unsure how to proceed. If the employee or official believes that a conflict of interested could be created by taking a certain course of action, then that person can ask the Ethics Commission for a written opinion.
Who actually issues the opinion?
Once the request is submitted, it will be analyzed by the legal staff and presented to the Ethics Commission for an official determination. Once that occurs, the requester will receive a written opinion signed by the Executive Director stating the Commission's opinion and reason(s) for that opinion.
What is the effect of a probable cause determination?
If requested by the alleged violator, a public hearing will be scheduled. The full Commission on Ethics is impaneled to hear the case. The hearing is scheduled no later than sixty days after the probable cause determination. An attorney will present the case on behalf of the Commission, the alleged violated most likely will hire legal counsel, witnesses will testify, evidence will be introduced and the Ethics Commission will render a ruling. If a violation is found, penalties can be imposed against the violator.
If the Ethics Commission holds a public hearing resulting from a complaint I have filed, what is my role at the hearing?
In most cases, the complainant will be a witness. The complainant is not an actual party and has no burden of proving the case.
As an alleged violator of an ordinance, what rights do I have in the event the Commission finds probable cause?
All respondents are entitled to a public hearing in front of the Ethics Commission. The request for a public hearing must be made within 21 days following the mailing of the probable cause determination.
What penalties can the Ethics Commission assess?
This depends upon the ordinance being enforced. The Commission may impose fines, admonish or reprimand violators or draft letters of instruction. Any final order or advisory opinion issued by the Ethics Commission is subject to review with the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure.Print E-mail Page |