Great Falls Code Of Ethics – Relevant?


Have you ever read ‘Chapter 21 – CODE OF ETHICS’ in the City of Great Falls municipal code? If not, maybe it’s time to take a look at it.

Here are a few examples of what you’ll find there:

2.21.020 – Findings.

The City Commission of the City of Great Falls finds and declares that:

A. Public office and employment are a public trust;

B. The vitality and stability of representative democracy depends upon the public’s confidence in the integrity of its elected and appointed representatives; and

C. Governments have the duty both to provide their citizens with standards by which they may determine whether public duties are being faithfully performed, and to apprise their officers and employees of the behavior which is expected of them while conducting such duties.

2.21.030 – Purpose and authority.

It is the purpose of this chapter to provide a method of assuring that standards of ethical conduct for officers and employees of the City of Great Falls shall be clear, consistent, uniform in their application, enforceable, and to provide those officers or employees with advice and information concerning possible conflicts of interest which might arise in the conduct of their public duties. Such ethical standards shall inspire and stimulate each officer and employee to:…

C. Be dedicated to the highest ideals of honor and integrity in all public and personal relationships so that each public servant may merit the respect and confidence of elected officials, of other officials and employees, and of the public; and

D. Recognize that the chief function of local government at all times is to serve the best interests of all of the people.

So, do you think that all of our city commissioners have been “…dedicated to the highest ideals of honor and integrity…”?

How about “local government at all times serving the best interests of all of the people“?

2.21.050 – Ethical standards.

In addition to complying with the provisions of Mont. Code Ann. Title 2, Chapter 2, officers and employees of the City of Great Falls shall comply with the following provisions:

A. No officer or employee of the City of Great Falls shall have an interest in a business organization or engage in any business, transaction, or professional activity which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his or her governmental duties;

B. No officer or employee shall use, or attempt to use, his or her official position to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself, herself or others;

C. No officer or employee shall act in his or her official capacity in any matter where he or she, a member of his or her immediate family, or any business organization in which he or she has an interest, has a direct or indirect financial or personal involvement that might reasonably be expected to:

         1. impair his or her objectivity or independence or judgment, or

         2. substantially conflict with the proper discharge of officer or employee’s     governmental duties;

Have we seen any recent violations of these clear-cut standards from current and past city commissioners?

You know, the stuff about “immediate family or any business organizations in which he or she has an interest”. Here are a few handy links to help answer that question:

Do you think Chapter 21 in our municipal code matters, or is it just a bunch words that can be blithely ignored by our “public servants”.

Here’s a novel idea – maybe we should all read Chapter 21 (click here to do so) and demand that our “leadership” adhere to it. Which means they would have to read and understand it first.



Posted by Rick Tryon

Rick Tryon is an entrepreneur, a singer-songwriter, and is currently serving a four year term as a Great Falls City Commissioner. Helping Montana become an even greater place to live, play and work is Tryon's passion.

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