Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance
Tennessee Ethics Commission

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Local Government Ethical Standards

It is the intent of the general assembly that the integrity of the processes of local government be secured and protected from abuse. The general assembly recognizes that holding public office and public employment is a public trust and that citizens of Tennessee are entitled to an ethical, accountable and incorruptible government.  Accordingly, under T.C.A. § 8-17-103, all counties and instrumentalities of counties, all municipalities and instrumentalities of municipalities, and other entities of local government listed in T.C.A. § 8-17-102, must adopt, no later than June 30, 2007, ethical standards for all officials and employees of such entity. To the extent that an issue covered by an ethical standard is addressed by a law of general application, public law of local application, local option law, or private act, any ethical standard adopted by a governing body shall not be less restrictive than such laws. 

The local government has the option to adopt a model ethical code; County Technical Assistance Service for the counties and Municipal Technical Advisory Service for the cities. The local governmental may also adopt its own ethical standards. They are responsible for filing a copy of their ethical code with the TEC.

View lists of government entities that have adopted ethical standards and filed with the Commission:

Under T.C.A. § 8-17-106, the members of the governing body of an entity that is required to adopt ethical standards under §§ 8-17-101 through 8-17-105 are subject to removal from office for the failure to adopt the required ethical code. 

Note, however, that the Tennessee Ethics Commission does not have the authority to enforce local government ethical codes, nor does the Commission have any authority to regulate the conduct of local government officials except as relates to the filing of a Statement of Disclosure of Interests.