Council member Smitherman wants mandatory ethics training

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A Cincinnati City Council member is starting a campaign to make ethics training amongst his peers mandatory. Christopher Smitherman introduced a motion this week calling for change in city policy. As of right now, council members are only encouraged to attend ethics training.

The training touches on issues like conflict of interest, criminal activity while in office, and other areas that elected officials should avoid.

"Politicians, I think, we're probably at the low, meaning people are not trusting what politicians are doing. So having these things in place will help elevate the profession," said Smitherman.

At least one of Smitherman's colleagues agrees.

"We've been elected because taxpayers believe we are ethical. We engage in the training to make sure we understand what proper ethics are so that we do not violate the ethical standards that we're all being held to," said council member Wendell Young.

Smitherman wants to take his motion a step further, however, and hold those who violate ethics laws accountable for their actions.

"If you break an ethical law, you can be charged criminally and pay some type of fine. So, that is a step beyond we are just going to slap you on your wrist," said Smitherman.

The next ethics training session for council members is scheduled for Jan. 27.

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