Welcome to the New Castle County Ethics Commission Decisions Website
This website makes available the Commission’s formal, published rulings, in pdf format, including:
- Advisory Opinions
- Complaint Final Orders
- Post-Employment Restrictions Waivers
You can search these documents by:
- Entering your own search term in the search box
- Clicking on a listed search term
- Choosing a subject from the drop-down list
- Entering a document (file) number
If more than one document responds to your search, the search results will appear in a list format in reverse chronological order.
Pursuant New Castle County Code, Section 2.04.102.I, the Ethics Commission has the authority to provide an Advisory Opinion to New Castle County officials and employees in response to a written request for its advice as to how the Ethics Code applies to the situation presented. The Ethics Commission is the only entity, per the County Code, which has the authority to interpret the Ethics Code as applied to the proposed conduct of County officials and employees.
- Anyone covered by the Ethics Code may request a written Advisory Opinion regarding a question involving the application of the Ethics Code to their proposed conduct. The opinion must be requested before engaging in the relevant conduct. The Ethics Commission will not issue an Advisory Opinion regarding past conduct.
- A County supervisor may request an opinion regarding a subordinate's duties under the Ethics Code.
- The County official who, or entity which, has appointed a person to a County position may also request an Advisory Opinion regarding the appointee’s duties under the Ethics Code.
- Requests for Advisory Opinions are confidential, and the written opinion issued by the Commission will not include anyone’s name unless the person who requested the opinion states otherwise.
Receiving an Advisory Opinion from the Ethics Commission can be very useful. If the facts provided to the Commission at the time of the request were true, and if the recipient adheres to the directives in the opinion, the recipient will have a complete defense in any subsequent proceeding if a complaint is filed against the recipient regarding the covered conduct.
If you want to request an Advisory Opinion, you should also feel free to contact the Commission’s legal counsel to discuss the matter. [contact info will be in the left-hand column???] An Advisory Opinion can also be requested electronically by clicking on the designated place in the left margin of this page. You will receive a confirmation when the request has successfully reached the Commission.
COMPLAINT FINAL ORDERS
New Castle County Code Sections 2.04.103 and 2.04.104 authorize the Commission to investigate complaints and to sanction persons who violations of the Ethics Code.
- Complaints may be filed by anyone – members of the public or County employees or officials.
- A complaint must be based upon and include a description of a good faith written allegation of a violation of the Ethics Code which was committed by a specific member or members of County government.
- The complaint must be sworn to by the filer.
- The Commission keeps both the identity of a good faith filer (the complainant) and its receipt of the complaint confidential.
- Following completion of a formal investigation and/or hearing on a complaint, the Commission will issue a Final Order which provides information regarding the facts uncovered in the investigation or hearing, and the Commission's decision as to the application of the law to those facts, as well as any sanction(s) imposed.
- The name of the subject of the complaint (the respondent) may be disclosed in the Final Order depending on the severity of the sanction imposed.
A complaint form may be downloaded from this website for your use. The form must be mailed or delivered to the Ethics Commission office because the complaint must contain the complainant’s original signature, swearing to good faith under the penalty of perjury. Filing of a complaint in bad faith and/or a frivolous complaint is a serious mistake and the County Code gives the Commission the authority to penalize anyone who engages in such conduct.
New Castle County Code Section 2.03.103.D prohibits a County official or employee from representing or assisting any private enterprise on any matter involving the County for a period of two (2) years following termination of County employment or official status, if the person gave an opinion, conducted an investigation or otherwise was directly and materially responsible for that matter in the course of official duties.
- County Code Section 2.03.105 permits a County department, a former employee or a former official to request, in writing, a waiver of this prohibition on the basis of undue hardship.
- A County employee or County department may submit any form of written request for a post-employment waiver as long as it contains an original signature from the requester.
- Per County Code Section 2.03.105.C.4, if the waiver request is granted by the Commission, information involved in the granting of the waiver will be made available to the public by request.