Background on the City Code of Ethics
Ethics are commonly defined as the rules of conduct that govern how a society differentiates between good and bad, right and wrong. In practice, ethics guide individuals in identifying the correct course of action in how decisions are made. In local government, the role of ethics is significant in maintaining public trust, fairness, and the appearance of fairness in all government action. Many local governments, including Bozeman, have created laws (the Code of Ethics) that specify the conduct of government actions to ensure that all dealings are conducted fairly and in an unbiased manner in both appearance and fact.
The city Code of Ethics applies to all city employees and elected and appointed officials including board members. The Code of Ethics specifically states that “every member of the public has the right to report improper government action” and “any person” may file a complaint with the Board of Ethics or may request an ethics opinion. In 2010, the city published its city of Bozeman Ethics Handbook for all persons interested in the operation of the Bozeman City government including citizens. In 2013, the Ethics Handbook was updated with changes to the code that the City Commission had approved in the resulting years.