April 14th, 2021
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and the Monroe County Democratic Caucus this week introduced a package of amendments to the County’s Code of Ethics that address issues of harassment and sexual harassment, and limits County employees and officers from doing business with County government during and after their employment or term.
“The people of Monroe County deserve a government that holds its elected officials, employees and officers to the highest ethical standards,” said County Executive Bello. “These proposed reforms will strengthen our local laws and make sure all our employees and officers have clear guidelines for acceptable behavior, are held accountable for their actions and may not leverage their connections with County government to enrich themselves or create the appearance of impropriety. I believe strongly that Monroe County government must be committed to building a culture of respect and dignity for all persons, especially the residents we serve.”
Monroe County already follows all federal and state laws regarding harassment and sexual harassment. Additionally, it requires officers and employees to conduct themselves in a way that will not raise suspicion among the public that they are likely to be engaged in acts that violate the public trust.
“Recent scandals have once again highlighted the need for sexual harassment protections for victims. Furthermore, stopping revolving door politics restores trust and fairness in County government. I commend Adam Bello for taking action and I thank him for working with me on these amendments,” added Monroe County Legislator Rachel Barnhart.
By enacting the proposed amendments, the Legislature would make it clear that county officers and employees who engage in harassment or sexual harassment are in violation of the Code of Ethics. Under the proposal, the Monroe County Board of Ethics would be fully empowered to investigate any and all complaints it receives regarding harassment or sexual harassment. Any individual found in violation could be subject to fines, suspension, censure or removal from office or employment.
The proposal would also strengthen county ethics laws by prohibiting all county officers as well as employees from doing business with the county during and for a two-year period following their employment or term.
The proposal was submitted this week to the Monroe County Legislature for consideration.