The Ethics Hearing Board and its appointed Ethics Officer provide formal or informal advice to parties covered under our Code of Conduct.
Our ethics advice is always
While you are free to seek other legal advice, please note the Board will not accept advice of counsel as a defense in an enforcement action; only formal advice of the Ethics Officer or Ethics Hearing Board may be considered as a defense.
The Ethics Officer can quickly respond to questions from covered parties regarding the requirements of the Code of Conduct.
Please note these informal answers are not binding to you or to the Ethics Hearing Board.
A formal advisory opinion is provided by the Ethics Hearing Board, usually within a month following a board meeting. A few examples can be found at https://pittsburghpa.gov/ehb/decisions.
Formal advisory opinions are binding on the Ethics Hearing Board in a subsequent proceeding concerning the same factual situation. For the opinion to be binding, the inquirer must be truthful and must fully disclose all of the material facts at issue.
Upon the written request of any person covered under this Code, the Ethics Hearing Board must render, within thirty days after the date of its next regular meeting, a written advisory opinion with respect to the interpretation or application of this Code with respect to future actions only.
A requester of ethics advice may seek reconsideration of a written advisory opinion by the Ethics Officer or the Ethics Hearing Board. Advice stands until it has been amended; it is not suspended pending reconsideration or appeal.
A request for reconsideration must be received by the Board within thirty days and allege either that (1) a material error of law has been made; or (2) a material error of fact has been made. The Ethics Officer's decision upon reconsideration may be appealed to the Ethics Hearing Board.
The Ethics Officer or Ethics Hearing Board may also reconsider its advice on its own initiative, providing notice to the requester.