About the Commission on Ethics and Public Trust

The Ethics Commission was created in 1996 as a result of a citizens vote to amend the Home Rule Charter. It is an independent agency with advisory and quasi-judicial powers composed of five members, each serving staggered terms of four years at a time.

Government employees and officials have a special duty to serve the public in a fair and just manner. The Ethics Commission is dedicated to bolstering public trust in the administration of government by informing the public and private sectors about the laws and seeking strict compliance with them. It is empowered to subpoena, audit and investigate all facts and persons materially related to a complaint at issue.

The mission of the Ethics Commission is to ensure the integrity of both the governmental decision-making process and the electoral process, to restore public confidence in government and to serve as the guardian of the public trust.

The Ethics Commission is committed to public education, training and community outreach. This responsibility is discharged in a variety of settings including training sessions and workshops for government personnel, to conferences and seminars on topics of interest in the community.

Another important area of responsibility involves advice-giving. Each year several hundred local government officials and employees seek legal opinions from the Ethics Commission to establish the standard of public duty they should exercise. All of these opinions are posted on the Ethics Commission’s website.

The third role of the agency is enforcement of rules and ordinances under the Ethics Commission jurisdiction. The Public Advocate and a team of investigators may initiate probes and prosecute cases against violators.

The Commission’s jurisdiction includes elected officials, employees and advisory board members in Miami-Dade County government and in all municipalities in the county. Some rules and ordinances also extend to lobbyists and contract vendors.