Membership Suspension Added to Ethics Enforcement Options

An ICMA member who violates the ICMA Code of Ethics can now be suspended from membership as part of the changes made to the ICMA Rules of Procedure for enforcing the Code of Ethics. Under the changes approved by the ICMA Executive Board, a suspension requires board approval. The length of the suspension depends on the severity of the infraction but cannot exceed five years. During suspension, the member must follow the requirements of the Code of Ethics.

Based on the recommendation of the Committee on Professional Conduct (CPC), the rules were also amended to make a membership expulsion or bar permanent. This change removed a provision that allowed a member who had been expelled or barred from future membership to apply for reinstatement after a five-year waiting period. Expelling or barring a member from the association is the most severe action that can be taken for violating the Code of Ethics. For that reason, the CPC concluded that it should be permanent.

Beyond its role adjudicating ethics complaints, the CPC reviews and recommends changes to strengthen the Code of Ethics, the guidelines and enforcement process. Changes to the guidelines and rules require board approval. Members vote on any changes to the Code of Ethics.

To learn more about the ethics enforcement process and to review the complete Rules of Procedure visit

For advice on ethics issues or to file an ethics complaint with ICMA, contact Martha Perego, ICMA's director of ethics at or 202-962-3668 or Jared Dailey, program manager at or 202-962-3557.

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