One of the biggest little problems in government ethics is the
inability to filter out very minor violations, which can be dealt with
either by dismissing the complaint or by requiring, say, an additional training
course. It is a waste of limited time and resources to investigate and hold hearings on minor
violations. An EC needs to be able to use its judgment to decide when a
violation is not worth investigating.
Although it is hard to define what is a minor, or de minimis,
violation, it is important to provide for EC discretion where they exist, either in an ordinance
provision or an ethics commission regulation. This discretion should not be
left to advisory opinions; if it does originate there, it should
quickly be added to the EC's regulations or to the ordinance).