Springfield City Council Votes Down Financial Disclosure Ordinance; State Law Applies Until 2021

The Springfield City Council has voted down a financial disclosure ordinance that had been in place since the 1990s that exempted council members, city staff, and candidates for city offices from penalties for problems with financial disclosures and has removed use of the “short form” of reporting financial disclosures.

The voting down of the measure means the rules that apply to state legislators and county officials will apply to Springfield City Council. The “long form” used by the Missouri Ethics Commission will now be required of all city council members, select city staff such as the City Manager and City Attorney, and all candidates for city offices until at least 2021.

Unlike the previous city ordinance, violations of the rules of the Missouri Ethics Commission can result in penalties that can include loss of pay, removal from the ballot, suspension from office, or criminal charges. The previous city ordinance did not include penalties to anyone who had violated the regulations in the city charter.

The current state law says that communities can impose their own ordinances for a two year period that would be put in place by September 15 every other year, and that if a community does not put such an ordinance in place they will be under the state regulations as monitored and enforced by the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Springfield officials will required to file the “long form” financial disclosure with the Missouri Ethics Commission by May 1st every year.

The disclosures must also include information about any spouse (unless the spouse files separately) and any dependent children.

The Missouri Ethics Commission has information available for any citizen that wants to learn about the financial disclosure requirements on state, county, and city officials along with select public employees available on the MEC’s website.

The Missouri Ethics Commission also has a frequently asked questions document about personal financial disclosures which is below:

PFDFAQs