There are many rules and regulations that govern the ethical behavior of City of Philadelphia elected officers and employees. Some are applicable to officers and employees who work in all branches of government. Others are applicable only to the Mayor, executive branch employees, and members of boards and commissions that report directly to the Mayor. Still others may be created by, and applicable to, employees in a specific department, office, or agency.
These summaries offer a brief introduction to the pertinent ethics rules and regulations. Links are provided to enable a thorough review of the provisions. Questions about their relevance to specific factual situations should be directed to the appropriate office.
The Pennsylvania Public Official and Employee Ethics Act (PDF) (or “State Ethics Act”) is applicable to state and City public officials, public employees, and candidates and nominees for public office or employment. The act is administered and enforced by the State Ethics Commission.
The State Ethics Act provides restrictions on the ethical conduct of covered employees and creates the State Ethics Commission to ensure compliance. Key provisions of the State Ethics Act address:
The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter (“City Charter”), Article 10 is applicable to City officers and employees in all branches of City government, and to members of certain boards and commissions. It is administered and enforced by the Board of Ethics.
The City Charter outlines the powers, duties, and structure of Philadelphia’s government. Key provisions of Article 10—entitled “Prohibited Activities of Council members, City Officers, Employees and Others, and Penalties”—address:
The Board of Ethics establishes regulations that interpret Article 10 of the Home Rule Charter.
The Philadelphia Code’s City Ethics Code is applicable to officers and employees in all branches of City government, and to members of certain Boards and Commissions. It is administered and enforced by the Board of Ethics.
Chapter 20-600 of the City Code contains a section called “Standards of Conduct and Ethics,” known informally as “The Philadelphia Ethics Code.” Key provisions of the Ethics Code address:
The Board of Ethics establishes regulations that interpret the Ethics Code.
Chapter 17-1400 of the City Code applies to professional services contractors, recipients of financial assistance, or principal contractors or subcontractors for best value contracts, with limited exceptions.
Known as the City’s “Pay to Play” Law, this law enhances the integrity and transparency of the City’s contracting processes by eliminating the real and perceived favoritism in the awards of City’s professional services contracts and financial assistance. Requires eligibility restrictions, attribution rule, and mandatory disclosure requirements.
Applicable to executive branch employees and other entities (e.g., boards, commissions, task forces) established by the Mayor, executive orders are directives from the Mayor of Philadelphia. In some cases, such as the acceptance of gifts, executive orders may be stricter than rules applicable to non-executive branch employees.
This order prohibits the acceptance of certain gifts from specific sources to City officers and employees. Key provisions address:
Learn more about the Mayor’s Executive Order on Acceptance of Gifts.
This order establishes requirements for holding and reporting second jobs.
Learn more about the Mayor’s Executive Order on Outside and Self-Employment.
This order prohibits direct supervision of, and personnel actions regarding, close family members. It also mandates disclosure.
Learn more about the Mayor’s Executive Order on Prohibition of Nepotism.
This order bans discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity and creates a mechanism for reporting, investigating, and resolving good faith complaints.
Learn more about the Mayor’s Executive Order on Sexual Harassment Prevention in City Government.
This order protects against retaliation and threat of retaliation for good faith allegations of waste and wrongdoing. It also establishes a mechanism for reporting, investigating, and resolving complaints.
Learn more about the Mayor’s Executive Order on Whistleblower Protections.