MWRD Ethics Ordinance, Ethics Commission, & Ethics Advisor



Ethics Ordinance

The Illinois Ethics Act regulates ethical conduct, political activities, and the making and acceptance of gifts by governmental officers and employees. The Illinois Ethics Act required units of local government to pass ordinances regulating political activities and the making and accepting of gifts by their officers and employees in a manner no less restrictive than the Act.

MWRD’s Board of Commissioners adopted, pursuant to the mandate of the Illinois Ethics Act, Ordinance No. 04-001, known as the Ethics Ordinance.

Ethics Commission

Article 20 of the Ethics Ordinance establishes an Ethics Commission consisting of three members appointed by the Executive Director, with the advice and consent of the Board of Commissioners.

On May 15, 2014, the Board of Commissioners approved Executive Director David St. Pierre’s recommendation to appoint Zelda B. Harris, Jose A. Lopez, and Michael J. Weicher as the three members of the District’s Ethics Commission. Ms. Harris is a professor of law at Loyola University School of Law, Mr. Lopez is a partner at the law firm of Perkins Coie in Chicago, and Mr. Weicher is an attorney whose law office is in Oak Park.

The Ethics Commission is responsible for accepting complaints under the District’s Ethics Ordinance, which regulates political activities and the solicitation and acceptance of gifts by MWRD officers and employees. Pursuant to Section 20-4 of the Ethics Ordinance, complaints must be in writing, signed, and notarized. Upon receipt of a signed, notarized, written complaint, the powers of the Ethics Commission may include, but are not limited to: investigation, conducting hearings and deliberations, issuing recommendations for disciplinary actions, and imposing fines. Note that the Ethics Commission shall, however, act only upon the receipt of a written complaint alleging a violation of the Ethics Ordinance and not upon its own prerogative.

A complaint may be filed with the Ethics Commission by:

  1. Emailing the signed, notarized, written complaint as an attachment to, or

    ***Be advised that an e-mail alone will not suffice as a complaint since it cannot be signed and notarized.

  2. Mailing the signed, notarized, written complaint via U.S. Mail to:

    Jose A. Lopez
    Perkins Coie LLP
    131 South Dearborn Street, Suite 1700
    Chicago, IL 60603-5559

Click here for the Ethics Commission’s meeting schedule, agendas, and minutes of past meetings.

Click here for the Rules and Regulations relating to the Ethics Commission.

Ethics Advisor

Article 15 of the Ethics Ordinance authorizes the designation of an Ethics Advisor to provide guidance to officers and employees concerning the interpretation of and compliance with the provisions of the Ethics Ordinance and State ethics laws. Susan T. Morakalis, General Counsel, is the MWRD’s Ethics Advisor. MWRD officers and employees requiring guidance concerning the interpretation and compliance with the provisions of the Ethics Ordinance and State ethics laws can contact Susan T. Morakalis by email at or by phone (312) 751-6557.