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Applicant Disclosure

Applicant disclosure is the form of disclosure that least often appears in municipal ethics codes, not because it is controversial, but because it is not even discussed (although forms of it might appear in other laws and regulations).

Please share your experiences with applicant disclosure that appears in or outside of ethics codes, and your thoughts about its importance, and form, in ethics codes.

104. Disclosure by Applicants.

1. When a person requests that the city, or a city official or employee*, take or refrain from taking any action (other than a ministerial act*) that may result in a financial benefit* to either any official or employee or to one of the other persons listed in 100(1) of this code, the person requesting must disclose the name of any such person or persons, to the extent of his or her knowledge at the time of the request.

2. If the request is made in writing, the disclosure must accompany the request. If the request is oral and made at the meeting of a public body, the disclosure must be set forth in the public record of the body. If the request is oral and not made at the meeting of a public body, the disclosure must be set forth in writing and filed with the city clerk, who will send a copy to the Ethics Commission.

Comment: An example of how this section works is that an applicant for a zoning variance is required to list the name of any city official or employee, or others listed in 100(1), who might benefit from the granting of the variance. Applicant disclosure provides a check on transactional and annual disclosure.

This section does not require that the applicant research which officials, if any, have an interest in the matter, but only requires that the applicant disclose the names of interested officials to the extent the applicant knows of the interest. Also, the section imposes no burden on the applicant to update the disclosure if the applicant later learns that certain officials have an interest in the application.

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