Education is one of the Ethics Commission’s top priorities, because it helps to foster compliance. City law requires the Ethics Commission to promote understanding of the laws within its jurisdiction. Anyone who has a general question about how the laws work is encouraged to contact us. In addition, City law requires those who are subject to the laws to periodically complete training provided by the Ethics Commission.
Several types of training are required by City law. In addition to the following trainings, which must be completed on specific timelines, the Ethics Commission staff is happy to provide in-person group trainings upon request.
Candidates and Treasurers
Candidates must complete campaign finance training during each election cycle in which they run for office. The requirement also applies to their committee treasurers. The trainings are live and held in City Hall. Candidates and treasurers are notified of the dates and times of scheduled training sessions.
All City officials must complete governmental ethics training when they enter City service and every two years thereafter, for as long as they serve the City. City officials are notified when this training is due. An additional training regarding waste, fraud, and abuse must also be completed upon entering City service and every two years thereafter. Both trainings are online and can be accessed through the Personnel Department.
City officials who are attorneys licensed in the state of California may receive two hours of general participatory MCLE credit for completing the training. To receive MCLE credit, you must submit a completed MCLE request form and certificate of completion to the Office of the City Attorney, using the contact information provided on the form.
Neighborhood council members are not subject to the training requirements that apply to City officials. However, state laws regarding governmental ethics and conflicts of interests do apply to them as public officials. For more information about how state law applies to neighborhood council members and for possible training opportunities, please contact the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment or the Fair Political Practices Commission.
City lobbyists are required to complete a lobbying training within six months of first registering as a lobbyist and every two years thereafter. Lobbyists are notified through the Lobbyist Electronic Filing System when this training is due. For more information, contact us.
Another educational tool is advice. Information about the Ethics Commission’s formal and informal advice process is available here.
You may search and view past advice letters on our Public Data Portal.
The Ethics Commission produces guides, brochures, and other publications to help educate and promote understanding of the laws. Electronic versions of the publications may be viewed here. In addition, physical copies of the publications are available in the Ethics Commission’s office and upon request.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I’m a lobbyist and just took the online training, but I still have some questions. How can I get my questions answered?
Answering your questions is one of the Ethics Commission’s highest priorities. You may stop in or call and talk with the staff about how the laws generally apply. You may also request advice about a specific set of facts. In addition, you may request an in-person training for a more in-depth discussion of specific issues. This can be particularly beneficial for groups, such as all of the lobbyists in your lobbying firm.
My neighborhood council member told me she does not have to take ethics training. Is that true?
Neighborhood council members are exempt from taking the trainings that City law requires of City officials. However, they may be required to take a state training. For more information, please contact the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment or the Fair Political Practices Commission.
I ran for office in the last election and took the campaign finance training then. Why do I have to take it again during this election?
City law requires candidates to complete every time they run for office. City candidates who participate in the matching funds program must take the training in order to qualify to receive public funding. Laws and other requirements can change over time, so what applied during the last election cycle may not apply during the current cycle. In addition, in the four years between elections, it is easy to forget some of the legal details that apply to your candidacy. The goal is to empower you to comply with the law.