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Posted On: 1/3/2011

FitzGerald Extends Ethics Policy to All Employees

First Act in Office Requires County Employees to Meet Higher Standard


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JAN.3, 2011
Media Contact: Keary McCarthy, (614) 425-9163      

CLEVELAND – In his first act as Cuyahoga County Executive, Ed FitzGerald ordered all county employees under his authority to meet standards set in ethics and personnel policies. The memorandum signed this morning described a universal standard and eliminated the haphazard, patchwork system that had been in place.  

“As you know, ethics, integrity and professionalism in our work is an urgent priority for me and should be a key priority for all of us in Cuyahoga County government,” FitzGerald stated in the memorandum.  “We should not delay in establishing a higher standard of conduct in the performance of our duties.”

FitzGerald also established an "affirmative duty" for employees to report wrongdoing or unethical conduct, whether by fellow employees or outside parties.  FitzGerald also noted an upcoming “Vendor Code of Conduct” for parties doing business with the county.  FitzGerald also highlighted soon-to-be instituted, required training of county employees in ethics and professionalism.

A copy of the memorandum sent from County Executive FitzGerald to all County employees is included below.

To:    All County Agencies
From:    Ed FitzGerald, Cuyahoga County Executive
Date:    January 3, 2010

Re:    Greetings, and New County Ethics and Personnel Policies

Happy new year to all.  I am looking forward to all of us working together to improve our county government, provide better services to residents, and move Cuyahoga County forward.

As you know, ethics, integrity and professionalism in our work is an urgent priority for me and should be a key priority for all of us in Cuyahoga County government.   We should not delay in establishing a higher standard of conduct in the performance of our duties.

I want to emphasize to you that specific ethics requirements for county employees now apply to all staff under the authority of the County Executive.  These requirements I am highlighting today will be incorporated into a more comprehensive document in the near future.

As of today, all employees under the County Executive:
  • Will not solicit or accept anything of value for themselves or family members which could improperly influence their official duties;
  • Will be required to sign an ethics policy statement and receive training in ethics requirements of the new government;
  • Will not hold any outside or secondary employment without approval through the Office of Human Resources, and must avoid any employment that may conflict with the conduct of their duties;
  • Will have an affirmative duty to report apparent wrongdoing, fraud or other unethical behavior they observe as members of the county workforce – this includes behavior of outside vendors or other third parties doing business or seeking to do business with Cuyahoga County.

I will also be providing a more detailed “Vendor Code of Conduct” in the near future.  I expect this to be the first of its kind at Cuyahoga County, in order to be certain that our standards for ethics and integrity are met by those partners who work with us.

It will be the responsibility of my administration to provide training and clarity in the execution of these new requirements.  Training in these areas is expected to begin in the very near future.

Further, all employees within government units reporting to the County Executive will begin operating under one consolidated set of personnel policies and procedures.  Also effective today, all such employees shall adhere to the most recent edition of the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual.  In order for us to operate at maximum efficiency, common sense suggests that we should all be following the same personnel rules.

  • Due to certain notice requirements, there are a small number of exceptions to this change in policy, with details to be provided by the office of Personnel and Human Resources.  
  • Hard copies of the Manual will be distributed within the next five to ten days to all employees that do not have access to a computer as part of his or her regular duties.  Otherwise, this information will be provided via e-mail.
  • As well, collective bargaining agreements are not affected by this change.

I appreciate your cooperation and compliance with these new requirements.  I look forward to working with you to make our government the best it can be.