This morning, Andy Berke issued his first executive order as Mayor of Chattanooga. The order effectively strengthens the City’s existing Code of Ethics while increasing measures to ensure every employee has a clear understanding of ethical expectations as well as consequences.
“I feel strongly, as does our community, that city employees must always make decisions in the best interest of our citizens. This Executive Order is a strong signal that any partial or conflicted behavior will not be tolerated in my administration,” said Mayor Andy Berke.
“Through my Executive Order, I am holding City of Chattanooga employees to the highest ethical standards and clearly spelling out unacceptable behavior in my administration. I will not tolerate the use of public office for private gain. I will not allow employees to give preferential treatment to any person if it contradicts the very best interest of our citizens. Employees must be impartial in every decision and must always act in a way that upholds the integrity of the city of Chattanooga.”
In addition to clarifying the existing Code of Ethics ordinance, the Executive Order goes a step further by adding the additional measures:
In addition to the Mayor’s Executive Order, Mayor Berke has instructed the Office of the City Attorney to update the Code of Ethics Ordinance. One of these updates will include forming an internal Ethics Committee to assist in the review of ethics complaints. This Ethics Committee will consist of the City Financial Officer, Director of Human Resources, and Chairperson of the City Council.
“These are values I strongly believe in and they demonstrate that I will run the government as Chattanoogans demand – honest, responsible, and ethical. Through this Executive Order, I’m proud to strengthen the City’s ethical standards not just for today and tomorrow but for years to come,” said Mayor Berke.
The Executive Order goes into effect immediately. Changes to the City Ordinance will be presented to City Council on February 11, 2014.
This morning, I provided a community update on our Chattanooga Violence Reduction Initiative (VRI), a targeted strategy that will decrease violence in our city. I was joined by members of law enforcement, outreach organizations, churches, the judicial system, and City Council - all individuals invested in making our streets safer.
Chattanooga VRI is based on the guiding principles of the National Network of Safe Communities. These principles have been deployed in cities across the country, like High Point, NC, Boston, Chicago, and Baltimore, and have produced incredible results.
The community partners involved in Chattanooga VRI are already working closely to create the specific tactics to address violence. Coupling proven principles with a Chattanooga-specific approach, I have no doubt we will see real results in 2014.
I will continue to have periodic meetings to keep the community updated on our progress. If you have feedback or questions I would love to hear from you.
At Tuesday's Burgers with Berke, I sat down with City employees who have recently gone above and beyond in serving our community.
Employees like Steve Pack, our 11th Street Garage Supervisor, who works hard everyday to lead his team and boost morale. Or Shneka Whaley, a Recreation Specialist serving as a role model for kids that frequent our YFD centers, who earned her Masters in Education just last week. And Captain Rogers and Firefighters Peterson and Williams, who were all three injured recently in the line of duty.
I am thankful for the hard work of these city employees and countless others. They are great examples of how local government can work for our citizens, and ultimately make Chattanooga a better place.
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