The City of Reading Board of Ethics was created by the Home Rule Charter, Section 1201 as a five member Board to serve city residents in the following ways:

1. Enforcement:

The Board of Ethics hears and decides all cases alleging violations of Charter Section 1201 and the Code of Ethics (Administrative Code Section 10). The Board does not have jurisdiction over other provisions of the Charter or Administrative Code. Upon receipt of complaints, the Board, through its Investigative Officer, is authorized to determine jurisdiction, conduct investigations, refer cases for prosecution, issue binding opinions, and impose penalties and administrative fines. If necessary, the Board may also institute appropriate civil or equitable action to enforce its Final Order.

In practical execution, the Board strives to prohibit commingling of its adjudicatory and prosecutorial functions. Complaints are received and reviewed by a contracted Investigative Officer, who determines jurisdiction, conducts all investigations, and issues a written report of findings. Board members review the findings report, preside over evidentiary hearings, and decide, by majority vote, whether a violation of Charter Section 1201 or Code of Ethics has occurred. Their determination, called the Final Order, includes the findings of fact and conclusions of law which support the determination, and outlines the relevant factors considered in imposition of penalties and/or fines. The entire process, from receipt of complaint to Final Order, should be complete within nine months.  Retaliation against employees who reports violations is strictly prohibited and any such action will be a violation of the Code of Ethics and subject to corrective action as ordered by the Board. 

Finally, any person aggrieved by an adjudication of the Charter Board has a right to appeal to the Berks County Court of Common Pleas. Any person who prevails in adjudication against the City (including its officers or agents) to enforce the Charter or Administrative Code is entitled to recover all reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred by the action.

2. Advisory Powers:

The Board may render advisory opinions concerning matters of the City Code of Ethics at the written request of any public official or city employee. The Board may also render advisory opinions on its own motion, if it deems such action to be in the public interest. Advisory opinions are issued no later than 30 days following the receipt of the written request.

3. Education:

The Board administers a required orientation regarding the Code of Ethics for all newly elected City officials.