Letter to the Editor


Commissioners ignoring code of ethics requirement

Holding the government accountable is one of the many privileges that we as Americans can take pride in. We can do that by attending commissioner’s meetings or by use of the press. 

It has recently come to my attention that our board of commissioners has not adopted a code of ethics as North Carolina law requires. After initially emailing a county employee who works closely with the commissioners on Feb. 8, 2023, then following up with another email, and finally a phone call I was told that my question and concerns would be forwarded to the county attorney. I was assured that all of our commissioners had completed ethics training as required by the law. 

After several emails I still have not received an answer from the county as to why our commissioners do not have a current code of ethics. Statutes G.S. Ch. 160A-86 & 160A-87 state that local elected officials must complete ethics training within 12 months of the date of their election or appointment, and then again within 12 months of their re-election or re-appointment. The training requirement is triggered each time the official is re-elected or reappointed to office. The ethics education requirement applies to the governing board members of all North Carolina cities, counties, local school boards, sanitary districts, unified governments, and consolidated city-counties. 

As many of us know, ethics is defined as the moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity. In order to garner public trust and transparency it is in the best interest of the board of commissioners to adopt a code of ethics expeditiously. I contacted UNC school of government and the North Carolina ethics commission to inquire on this matter and have verified with both that county commissioners in fact must adopt a code of ethics although they are not subject to the state Ethics Act. 

“A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.” – Thomas Paine.  


Claudia Aguilar – Franklin, N.C.