ICMA Executive Board Issues Public Censures

ICMA Executive Board issued four public censures on June 8, 2019, for violations of Tenets 2, 3, 7, and 12.

Jul 16, 2019 | ARTICLE

At its June 8, 2019 meeting, the ICMA Executive Board voted to approve the following recommendations from the ICMA Committee on Professional Conduct (CPC) after a thorough review process:  

  • Ricardo Fernandez, former city manager, Tallahassee, Florida, was publicly censured and permanently barred from future membership for conduct in violation of Tenets 3 and 12 of the ICMA Code of Ethics. Fernandez entered into a settlement agreement with the Florida Commission on Ethics, where he admitted to failing to report a gift of a discounted catering rate for his daughter’s wedding reception at a city-affiliated restaurant, soliciting football tickets from a lobbyist, and accepting prohibited gifts from a lobbyist.
  • Amanda Stone, former county manager, Buncombe County, North Carolina, was publicly censured and permanently barred from future membership in ICMA for conduct that violated Tenets 2, 3, and 12 of the ICMA Code of Ethics, as well as the law and county policies. Stone pled guilty to one federal charge of conspiracy as a result of her conduct involving a bribery and kickback scheme with a contractor that began while she was serving as the assistant manager in Buncombe County.
  • Charles Coney, former city manager Hampton, Georgia, and current city manager, Americus, Georgia, was publicly censured for conduct in violation of Tenet 7 of the ICMA Code of Ethics. Coney was an elected official in Fitzgerald, Georgia, while working as a city manager. Coney had an affirmative responsibility to comply with the ICMA Code of Ethics, and when notified that his dual responsibilities constituted a violation of the Code, failed to take timely action to remedy the situation.   
  • Yousry “Yost” Zakhary, former police chief and city manager, Woodway, Texas, was publicly censured for conduct that violated Tenet 3 of the ICMA Code of Ethics following a review process involving fact-finding efforts from the Texas City Management Association. Based on information made available during the fact-finding process, Zakhary created an environment in which his employees were offended by his language and conduct. It appears that the conduct continued after harassment training occurred and despite his direct reports informing him that his behavior towards female employees was inappropriate. In addition to creating an uncomfortable work environment, Zakhary placed the city at risk for legal liability for his conduct.

Members are encouraged to read the ICMA Code of Ethics and Guidelines. As a member benefit, ICMA provides confidential advice members who may be uncertain of their ethical obligation or who need guidance to resolve an ethical dilemma. Contact Martha Perego, director of member services and ethics at 202-962-3668 / mperego@icma.org or Jessica Cowles, ethics advisor, at 202-962-3513 / jcowles@icma.org.  Ethics advice, information, and the ICMA Code of Ethics are available online at icma.org/ethics.


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