On-line Ethics Training

“Our county is looking for online ethics and fraud trainings that new and existing employees can view. Does your city or county use an online training program on these topics?”

The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) fielded this question on its “leadership and ethics” web page earlier this year. One response mentioned examples from Chicago and San Diego. In addition, ICMA pointed to its commercially available “Ethics 101 e-course” (https://icma.org/node/22253).

The City of Chicago Board of Ethics provides online and on-site training and seminars, as well as related classes, workshops, presentations, and more (see its education and training web page, listed below). One of its innovative approaches is to provide short YouTube training videos, as follows:

The City of San Diego requires city officials and unclassified city officers, employees, and certain others to attend face-to-face training (as does Chicago) but it also offers an online program for consultants and most board and commission members, according to its website, which does not provide examples or links.

Ohio (admittedly not a city or county) provides e-learning options via the State of Ohio Ethics Commission’s website. E-course options include a one-hour overview of Ohio ethics law, 15-minute topic specific e-courses suitable for staff meetings or other settings, a six-part series, and a 15-minute course designed for the private sector. Each course is accessible from the website.

Other cities, counties, and states also take various approaches to online training, or are in the process of developing such training, as shown by Ohio Ethics Commission member Nick Paul and colleagues in a presentation for the 2016 Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) conference (Nick, Berlin, & Dawson, 2016).


Municipality Online Training Examples
Los Angeles County MTA is creating an e-training program
Atlanta, Milwaukee County, New York City, and Washington DC are developing e-learning courses
Denver offers online training for most new employees
Philadelphia offers online training about changes to the Whistleblower Protection Code
Connecticut Office of State Ethics offers interactive online training and training by web-streaming video and partnered with the Connecticut Education Academy to add ethics e-learning options to the course catalog
Delaware Public Integrity Commission created an online training module
Massachusetts State Ethics Commission offers a webinar option for conflict of interest law seminars
New Jersey State Ethics Commission recently updated its comprehensive online ethics training program and made the program available on the State’s Learning Management System and the Commission’s website
North Carolina State Ethics Commission provides online education for all covered persons
Ohio Ethics Commission provides various online learning opportunities (highlighted above)
University of Texas System, Office of General Counsel developed a web-based training course for all employees


Ethical Advocate provides comprehensive ethics and compliance solutions, including ethics and compliance training and confidential and anonymous hotlines.


City of Chicago Board of Ethics. “Education and Training” (web page). https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/ethics/provdrs/edu.html

City of San Diego Ethics Commission. “Ethics Training Program” (web page). https://www.sandiego.gov/ethics/about/training

ICMA. “Leadership & Ethics” (web page). https://icma.org/topics/leadership-and-ethics. See also https://icma.org/topic-search/ethics

Nick, Paul M., Steve Berlin, and Mary Dawson. “2016 Ethics Update I & II: Legal Summary & Notes.” Prepared for COGEL 2016 Conference, December 2016. http://www.ethics.ohio.gov/education/downloads/2016%20Cogel%20Ethics%20Update%20Legal%20Summary%20%20Notes%20With%20TOC.pdf

State of Ohio Ethics Commission. “Ohio Ethics Law E-Courses” (web page). http://www.ethics.ohio.gov/education/elearning/index.html