Wilmington Mayor Signs Ordinance Requiring Annual Ethics Training for All City Employees

City of Wilmington
Legislation also requires transparency through public reporting about whom has received ethics training

WILMINGTON, DE — Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki signed legislation this week that strengthens Wilmington’s ethics training requirements by making annual training mandatory for all employees, including elected and appointed officials. Until now, training offered by Wilmington’s Ethics Commission was voluntary. In addition, the new legislation, which was sponsored by Council Member At-Large James Spadola and approved by Wilmington City Council last week, offers additional ethics transparency by requiring the City of Wilmington to list publicly those elected officials who have completed the training requirement.

Mayor Purzycki introduced some of the first government ethics legislation when he served on New Castle County Council in the 1970’s. One of his first acts after taking office as Mayor in 2017 was to begin the process of reconstituting the City’s Ethics Commission and appointing knowledgeable and credible commission members who today comprise one of, if not the strongest government ethics group in Delaware.

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Mayor Mike Purzycki said the ordinance unfortunately may not stop people with bad intentions from acting unethically but will provide constant reminders to those with good intentions so that they don’t mistakenly engage in unethical behavior. “It’s remarkable how people innocently or unconsciously cross a line and then find themselves in the appearances of conflicts which they could have easily avoided if they had the opportunity to have their consciousness elevated about these things,” Purzycki said.

With today’s ordinance signing, Wilmington’s mayor, treasurer, auditor, council members, full-time city employees and appointed staff will be required to attend or watch a recording of an Ethics Commission-approved training presentation, then submit a certification verifying they attended the session.

“It’s important for ethics to be ever-present in our minds as we’re going about our day-to-day business,” Spadola said on the Council floor last week in seeking support from his colleagues. “This is about preventing unintentional mistakes due to not being up to speed on the ins and outs of the law.”

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The Wilmington Ethics Commission today thanked Mayor Purzycki for signing the ethics training legislation and applauded Wilmington City Council for passing an annual ethics training requirement for all elected officials and city employees. The Commission noted that earlier this year, all City of Wilmington elected officials and the Mayor’s senior appointees voluntarily attended ethics training in a true statement as to the importance of ethics in City of Wilmington government. The Commission said Council has now codified its voluntary action by passing the annual ethics training ordinance. Commission members said requiring annual ethics training for all elected officials and city employees is a tremendous step forward for the City of Wilmington and should build the public’s confidence in our elected officials. The Ethics Commission looks forward to implementing this new requirement and continuing to advance ethics in City of Wilmington government.

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