Rockville’s city code now includes a whistleblower protection provision, new requirements for certain city employees to file financial disclosure statements and clarifies the city Ethics Commission’s role in reviewing the statements, after the Mayor and Council unanimously adopted changes to the city’s public ethics ordinance on Jan. 6.

The addition of the whistleblower provision ensures that employees and officials can report ethical violations and participate in investigations without fear of retaliation.

Additional changes require the city manager, city clerk, city attorney and department heads to file financial disclosure statements. That includes the directors of planning, finance, human resources, information technology, public works, recreation and parks, communications, and procurement, as well as the chief of police. The deputy city manager, deputy city clerk, deputy city attorney, deputy finance director, and management and budget director are also now required to file statements.

The Ethics Commission is required to review financial disclosure statements to ensure they are complete and to request an amended report if any deficiencies or omissions are found. The commission will also be required to conduct similar reviews for lobbyists, including reviewing lobbying registrations and financial disclosure reports.

The changes also reduce the value of gifts – from $25 to $20 – that certain employees and officials must report in disclosure statements.

For video of the Mayor and Council discussion and more information about the revised ordinance, find the Jan. 6 meeting listing at www.rockvillemd.gov/AgendaCenter.