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The above introduction video to the Government Ethics Act is approximately 10 minutes in duration.
Click here for more information about the Government Ethics Act.
City Staff and Officials
Welcome City staff and public officials! The Public Ethics Commission is committed to helping you in your capacity as a public servant to make decisions and conduct your work in a manner that upholds the public's trust. Oakland employees and officials are entrusted by the public to use City time, property, and money efficiently and ethically. We hope that the information below provides helpful guidance to you in your public service role. If you cannot find what you need in the materials below, or you need further guidance, please contact our office at 238-3593.
Ethics Laws at a Glance
The Government Ethics Act is based on the premises that the integrity of City government depends upon public servants who are entrusted by the public to use City time, property, and resources efficiently and in a legal and ethically responsible manner, and all individuals and groups who come into contact with our City should have a fair and equal opportunity to participate in government. The Government Ethics Act does the following:
- Provides a clear and comprehensive framework of ethics rules for City staff and officials
- Codifies and consolidates locally all existing ethics laws currently in place at the state and local level
- Includes additional requirements that address needs that are unique to Oakland
- Authorizes the PEC to enforce the provisions in ordinance
IV. Conflict of Interest and Personal Gain
Financial Conflicts of Interests
A public servant shall not make, participate in making, or influence a decision in which he or she has a financial interest, as defined by the CA Political Reform Act (PRA)
Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700)
Requires elected officials and designated public servants to file a Form 700 Statement of Economic Interest pursuant to the CA PRA
Conflicts of Interests in Contracting
A public servant may not make a contract in which he or she has a financial interest
A public servant may not disclose confidential information acquired in the course of his or her official duties to another person for pecuniary gain, personal advantage or private interest
Incompatible Public Offices
A public servant may not hold two public offices that are incompatible
Conflict in Office
Neither the Mayor nor members of City Council may hold other City office or employment with the City during their term and for one year following their term
Influencing Prospective Employment
A public servant may not make or influence a government decision affecting a future employer
V. Leaving Public Service “Revolving Door” Restrictions
Permanent Post-Service Restriction on Representing, Advising, and/or Assisting Non-City Parties in Particular Matters
Prohibits a public servant from leaving the City to work for a non- City person or entity other than oneself on the other side of a particular issue in which they personally and substantially participated while employed with the City
One-Year Post-Service Restriction on Supervisors Representing Non-City Parties.
Prohibits a public servant from leaving the City to work for another person or entity on the other side of an issue in which the public servant served as a supervisor of an employee who personally and substantially participated in a particular matter
One-Year Restriction on Public Servants Representing Other Persons Before Former Department
Restricts a public servant, for one year after they leave City service, from influencing their former department or unit on behalf of another person
Employment by a Party to a City Contract on Which the Public Servant Worked
Prohibits a public servant from working for a person or entity that entered into a contract with the City within the preceding one year where the public servant personally and substantially participated in the award of the contract
Waiver by the Public Ethics Commission
Authorizes the PEC to waive the restrictions in sections V(A) – V(C) under certain circumstances
VI. Perks of Office and Misuse of City Resources or Position for Private Gain
Misuse of City Resources or Position
A public servant may not use or permit others to use public resources for campaign activities or for personal or non-City purposes not authorized by law.
A public servant may not use his or her authority or power of position for private advantage.
Prohibitions Related to Political Activity and Solicitation of Contributions
A public servant may not use his or her office or authority to help secure a position with the City in exchange for a vote or other political influence.
A public servant, in addition to an Oakland School Board candidate, may not solicit a political contribution from another public servant, except as part of mass communications to a large group of the general public.
A public servant may not participate in political activities while in uniform.
Restrictions on Gifts
Requires a public servant to comply with the gift requirements and restrictions in the Political Reform
Imposes a $250 annual gift limit for public servants, except gifts from restricted sources, such as lobbyists
and persons doing business with or seeking to do business with the City, which would be limited to $50 in
gifts per year per source.
Prohibition on City Officers and Board or Commission Members Contracting with the City
Prohibits “City officers,” as defined more narrowly than “public servant,” from entering into contracts of more than $10,000 with the City while they are serving in their public service positions
VII. Fair Process
Prohibition on Bribery
No person shall offer or make, and no public servant shall solicit or accept, anything of value in exchange for the performance of any official act
Prohibition on Payment for Office or Appointment
A public servant may not give or promise to give to any person anything of value in exchange for nomination, appointment, support, or election to any office or employment
Prohibition on City Public Servant Influencing Contracts with Former Employer
A public servant may not use his or her official position to influence a decision regarding a contract with a party with whom the public servant was previously employed within the preceding 12 months
Prohibition on Nepotism
A public servant may not make or influence an employment or contract action involving a relative
Non-Interference in Administrative Affairs
City Council may not give orders, coerce or influence City administrative staff and should deal with administrative services through the City Administrator, Mayor, or other designees
VIII. Public Ethics Commission Role and Responsibilities
Requires the PEC to provide advice, assistance and training to City public servants and candidates who would be subject to the Ethics ordinance
Allows the PEC to adopt, amend, and rescind rules and regulations to carry out the purposes and provisions of the Government Ethics Act
Adds criminal, civil, and administrative penalties for violations of the Government Ethics Act, and adds an injunctive relief remedy for any person residing in the City
City Council Salary Information
The Oakland City Charter requires the Public Ethics Commission to adjust the salary for City Councilmember each year according to the increase in the Consumer Price Index for the preceding year. The Commission may authorize an additional increase beyond the required adjustment, up to a total maximum increase of 5 percent.
Prior to June 2014, Councilmembers were authorized to earn $79,638.78 annually. However, because Councilmembers have declined many of the Commission's authorized increases over the past several years, most Councilmembers actually received $74,316.59 or less annually.
In July 2014, the City Council passed a resolution by a vote of 6-0 to waive the approved salary increase and cap the council at $76, 100 for fiscal year 2014-15.
In February 2016, the PEC approved the mandated salary increase of 4.7 percent for a total approved annual salary of $85,382.97.
Also see the HR Memo Regarding Councilmember/Compensation
AB 1234 State - Required Ethics Training for Local Officials
Mayor Libby Schaaf
Vice-Mayor Rebeca Kaplan
Councilmember Dan Kalb
Councilmember Abel Guillen
Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney
Councilmember Annie Campbell-Washington
Councilmember Noel Gallo
Councilmember Desley Brooks
Councilmember Larry Reid
City Auditor Brenda Roberts
City Attorney Barbara Parker
City Council Code of Conduct
Resolution No. 78307
FURTHER RESOLVED:That the City Council hereby adopts the following Code of Conduct for each member of the City Council: Each member of the City Council has a duty to:
FURTHER RESOLVED:That the City Council hereby adopts the following Code of Conduct for each member of the City Council:
Each member of the City Council has a duty to: