The voluntary City of Ethics program was developed by a panel of business and government leaders in 1999 to encourage cities to adopt and adhere to a set of key ethical principles and adopt a local ethics ordinance.
The ordinance must contain definitions, prohibited conduct and due process for officials accused of violations in areas such as financial disclosures, conflicts of interests and outside employment. The ordinance must also contain penalties for city officials who violate the ordinance.
In 2009, GMA began requiring cities to recertify every four years. Augusta and Grovetown first were certified in 2000. Thomson was certified in 2003.