Duluth awarded ethical distinction

DULUTH - Duluth has been designated a "Certified City of Ethics."

Leaders of the city of about 30,000 received the honor at the Georgia Municipal Association's annual Mayor's Day Conference.

"I think it gives clout and a reassuring feeling to the people who deal with the city," said Nancy Harris, the newly elected mayor who said she was not familiar with the city's process to reach the certification.

Harris said she was proud to accept the honor.

"I could tell it was really special," she said. "It's one more way of saying you can hold us accountable and responsible."

With the addition of Duluth, Gainesville, Jenkinsburg, Senoia, Tallapoosa, Union Point and Walnut Grove to the program, the city organization has now designated 196 cities in the state in the past nine years.

"The 'City of Ethics' program recognizes cities that make a tangible commitment to ethical conduct," said GMA Executive Director Jim Higdon. "We now have nearly 200 cities that have proven their commitment to honest, ethical government by adopting strong ethics ordinances. I am extremely pleased that cities have taken the lead on earning and maintaining the public's trust in government."

The program, which is voluntary, encourages cities to adopt and adhere to a comprehensive ethics ordinance and to a set of key ethical principles in areas like financial disclosures, conflicts of interests and outside employment.

The ordinance even includes penalties, including public reprimands, fines and removal from office. Specifics on Duluth's ordinance were not available.