The Richmond Ethics Board will meet Sept. 5 to review the financial disclosure forms for candidates in the November general election.

Each city candidate is required to disclose their salary, all property owned and all donations received for the election campaign.

Those city candidates who do not receive any donations are not obligated to file, said Richmond City Attorney Garrett Fowles.

All financial disclosure forms are of open record and can be viewed by going to Richmond City Hall for Richmond candidates, the Madison County Courthouse for county candidates and Berea City Hall for Berea candidates.

The deadline for Richmond and county candidates was April 30 and Berea candidates have until Sept. 8, Fowles said.

The forms also are required for all sitting elected officials.

“The purpose of the forms is to make certain that any financial conflicts of interest are documented on record,” Fowles said. “We meet once a year to review the forms.”

The city’s board was created in 1994 not only to review the financial disclosure forms, but to establish a code of ethical conduct for city officials and employees.

The ordinance to adopt the ethics board was a state requirement for Richmond, Madison County and Berea.

To file an ethics complaint about an elected official, the person must put the complaint in writing and deliver it to the Richmond city clerk for complaints against Richmond officials, the courthouse for county officials and the Berea city clerk for Berea officials.

They are then delivered to the chairman of the respective boards, Fowles said.

“After a complaint is filed, we then have a meeting to consider the allegations of the complaint,” he said. “As the first step, the board would meet and review the allegations to determine if there is actually an ethics violation. If the board determines that to be so, then the board would convene to a hearing to take proof to make a case.”

Richmond Mayor Connie Lawson is concerned that the community may not know about the ethics boards for Richmond, Madison County and Berea.

“The public needs to know more about the ethics boards,” Lawson said. “They need to know that there’s something like this. No one is involved in the board who is among the respective government bodies, except the city or county attorneys.”

The board provides another outlet for citizens that is part of their freedoms, she said.

“Everybody has a right to have their complaints heard if they feel like they’ve been handed an injustice,” Lawson said.

Richmond's board will meet at 4:30 p.m. in the conference room on the first floor of City Hall.

Ronica Shannon can be reached at or 623-1669, Ext. 234.

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