Wharton signs order establishing new ethical standards - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Wharton signs order establishing new ethical standards

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A newly signed executive order sets a new standard of ethics for employees of the city of Memphis.  Monday morning, Memphis Mayor AC Wharton signed the order, which will crack down on gifts and conflicts of interest for city employees.

"It will become effective January 1," he said.

Wharton announced the goals of the order with stroke of his pen.

"One, you can trust us, and the other is we're going to be efficient with your precious dollars," he said.

The stricter guidelines mean city administrators, mayoral appointees and the mayor himself will be require to disclose annual financial interests, non-government titles and income, as well as any felony crimes.

Additionally, all employees are barred from impartiality and using inside information for personal gain.

Wharton said an ethics officer will enforce violations.

"It will be handled through the City Attorney's officer," he said.

The mayor's order for city employees is stricter than the current City Council Code of Ethics for elected officials.  The mayor's order limits foodstuffs and entertainment to $50, while the Council has no limit.

When it comes to city contracts, the mayor's order says no city employee can benefit directly or indirectly.  The City Council version does not require contractors to disclose gratuities given to city officials.

"Everybody comes to me with the presumption of trust," he said. "When you, by your failings in your overt acts betray that, I don't have any mercy."

Also Monday, Wharton submitted his list of names to establish a seven-member ethics panel - a move that was supposed to happen as far back as 2007.

To read Wharton's executive order, click here.

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