In February Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) implemented a policy that all employees must sign an ethics pledge, amid investigations that many of the city’s employees had been collecting unemployment benefits while working for the District, a clear violation of ethical conduct. When the subject of the pledge was initially introduced, Mayor Gray was requiring all city employees to sign it. However, now it is optional
Initially some employees complained about signing it and the Attorney General, Irv Nathan stated that those who refused to sign it would wind up in trouble. But an email by the Human Resources division of District government stated that employees would not be punished for refusing to sign the pledge:
To clarify, employees will not be disciplined for disagreeing with, or not taking, the Ethics Pledge. However, each provision of the Ethics Pledge is supported by a corresponding Federal or District statute and employees may be disciplined for any violation of those statutes.
As a reminder, the deadline for completing the Ethics Pledge is April 17, 2012. All agencies will continue to work toward that goal; however, employees will not be disciplined for not taking the pledge by the deadline.
Now the mayor’s spokesperson Pedro Ribeiro has stated that employees who do not sign it will have to take a class on ethics.
One city employee, who wanted to speak on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, said, “This is absurd! The mayor is the main one who needs to sign an ethics pledge, no the hard working employees who bust their butt to make him took good.”