Financial Disclosure Appeals Process

This description is a summary of the appeals process in financial disclosure cases.  Persons who wish to appeal should read the full text of Board Rule 8 and review the flow chart on the enforcement process.

Right to Review. Any person who is found delinquent or owes a fine for filing late in connection with the filing of an annual financial disclosure statement may seek administrative review of that decision on a form provided by the Ethics Office.   

How Seek Review.  The request for administrative review must be filed within 30 days of the date of the notice of delinquency, state the reasons for the person’s failure to comply with the financial disclosure requirements, and indicate the relief sought.   

Financial Disclosure Filing Required. Any person must file that year’s annual city financial disclosure statement before he or she is entitled to an administrative review.    

Administrative Review. The ethics officer shall conduct a review based on the written record and grant relief if the person establishes good cause for his or her failure to comply with the financial disclosure requirements. Following the review, the ethics officer shall issue a written decision that sets out findings of fact and conclusions of law.  

Appeal to Board. Any person receiving an adverse decision has the right to appeal the administrative decision to the Board of Ethics on a form provided by the Ethics Office within 30 days of the decision.     

Standard for Board Review.  The Board of Ethics will review the appeal based on the written record and overturn the factual findings of the ethics officer only if the board concludes that the ethics officer acted unreasonably, arbitrarily, or capaciously. The board shall base its decision on the preponderance of the evidence standard.

Penalties. The board may impose fines up to a maximum of $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses and issue a public reprimand.  In addition, the board may recommend disciplinary action to a department and recommend to the appointing authority the removal from office of any volunteer officials who is found delinquent.  

Reporting Sanctions. The ethics officer shall communicate any penalty that the board imposes on any employee to the employee’s department head and Commissioner of Human Resources, any penalty imposed on a board member or hearing officer to the appointing authority, and any penalty imposed on a neighborhood planning unit officer to the Commissioner of Planning and Community Development, the NPU coordinator, and the officers of that NPU.  

Review by writ of certiorari. The decision of the Board of Ethics shall be final. A person may appeal an adverse decision by seeking a writ of certiorari in the Fulton County Superior Court.