framed code of ethics

During its meeting on December 1, 2023, the ICMA Executive Board heard an ethics case from Jennifer Thompson, director of community engagement and assistant to the city manager in Rochelle, Illinois, whose conduct the Committee on Professional Conduct (CPC) determined violated Tenet 7 of the ICMA Code of Ethics:

ICMA has consistently determined it is a violation of the Code for a member to work in service to a local government and hold elected office at the same time.  Thompson acknowledged her conduct violated the Code and she ultimately did not resign her elected school board position. In her successful candidacy for elected office for a seat on the Rochelle Elementary School Board, she distributed campaign materials and received an endorsement of her candidacy.

Thompson’s decision to hold elected office while serving as a local government professional is political activity that undermines public confidence in the profession and the long-held standard of political neutrality. The board concurred with the CPC’s conclusion and publicly censured Thompson for conduct in violation of Tenet 7.

Tenet 7. Refrain from all political activities which undermine public confidence in professional administrators. Refrain from participation in the election of the members of the employing legislative body.

Running for Office. Members shall not run for elected office or become involved in political activities related to running for elected office, or accept appointment to an elected office. They shall not seek political endorsements, financial contributions or engage in other campaign activities.

All ICMA members agree to abide by the ICMA Code of Ethics and Guidelines. ICMA encourages members to review the Code.

As a member benefit, ICMA provides confidential advice to any members who may be uncertain of their ethical obligation or who need guidance to resolve an ethical dilemma. Contact Jessica Cowles, ethics director, at or 202-962-3513. Ethics advice, training opportunities, and the ICMA Code of Ethics are available online.

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