Reports on Case Activity and Requests

AICP Code of Ethics Case Activity and Requests and Annual Reports


Ethics Cases During 2017

19 Total Misconduct Cases

Seven (7) Cases Dismissed

  • Inaccurate information and staff coercion (Rules 1 and 18)
  • Inaccurate information and private discussion with developer (Rules 1 and 8)
  • Special advantage (Rule 14)
  • Special advantage (Rule 14)
  • Special advantage and wrongful act (Rules 14 and 25)
  • Inaccurate information and wrongful act (Rules 1 and 25)
  • Inaccurate information, illegal services, and wrongful act (Rules 1, 2, and 25)

Eight (8) Cases Settled

  • Revocation of Certification (serious crime – Rule 26) – see article below
  • One-Year Suspension of Certification (other employment and personal gain – Rules 4 and 6) – see article below
  • Letter of Admonition (wrongful act – Rule 25)
  • Letter of Admonition (wrongful act – Rule 25)
  • Misuse of AICP Certification Ceased (four cases)

Four (4) Cases Pending

  • Potential appeal of dismissal (unlawful discrimination – Rule 20)
  • Potential appeal of dismissal (unlawful discrimination and frivolous filing of ethics violation – Rules 20 and 24)
  • Potential appeal of dismissal (inaccurate information and staff coercion – Rules 1 and 18)
  • Misuse of AICP Certification

Ethics Committee Actions

  • Prepared annual Case of the Year for ethics training
  • Prepared draft outline for ethics training in university planning programs
  • Denied Request for Advisory Opinion (due to non-specific issue)
  • Approved Settlement Agreements (three cases)
  • Authorized Publication of Disciplinary Action (two cases)
  • Vacated Ethics Officer Rulings (two cases)
  • Upheld Ethics Officer Dismissals (three cases)

106 Requests for Informal Advice




Planning Consultant’s Certification Suspended

The AICP certification of Debbie Love, a planner based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was suspended in December 2017, following a settlement agreement with the AICP Ethics Officer regarding a charge of ethical misconduct that had been filed against her by a former employer.

The one-year suspension relates to violations of Rules of Conduct #4 and #6 in the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

According to the settlement agreement, Ms. Love failed to make written disclosure to her fulltime employer, a private consulting firm, that she was involved with another consulting firm at the time (Rule #4). During this same period, Ms. Love also approved sub-consultant agreements from her then-employer to two other firms, including one where she had an ownership interest and one that was owned by a relative (Rule #6).

Due to the severity of the violations, the Ethics Committee decided to publish this case, including the name of the planner, for the attention of membership.

AICP Certification Revoked for Florida Planner

The AICP certification of Patricia D. Blackshear was revoked in August 2017, after it was learned that Ms. Blackshear had pled "no contest" to three counts of perjury, which were related to a prior job as a county planning director. Following her plea in September 2016, Ms. Blackshear was sentenced to five years probation by Walton County (Florida) Circuit Court Judge Ross M. Goodman.

The AICP Ethics Committee decided to revoke Ms. Blackshear's certification after it determined her actions constituted a "serious crime," as defined by the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. The Code's section E3 states that "the term 'serious crime' shall mean any crime that, in the judgment of the Ethics Committee or the Ethics Officer, involves false swearing, misrepresentation, fraud ..."

The Ethics Code also states that "the membership of a Certified Planner shall be revoked if the Planner has been convicted of a "serious crime" ... whether the conviction resulted from a plea of guilty or nolo contendere" [i.e., no contest].

Ms. Blackshear was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners in 2012. Her FAICP certification also was revoked by the Ethics Committee. Ms. Blackshear will be eligible to request to have her certifications reinstated in August 2022.

This was the first instance of the revocation of an AICP certification in more than a decade.

Ethics Cases During 2016

12 Total Cases

6 Cases Dismissed

  • Abuse of Position (Rules 13, 14)
  • False, Deceptive, or Unsubstantiated Statements (Rules 10, 18)
  • Legal and Ethical Conduct (Rules 2, 25)
  • Loyalty to Employer/Conflict of Interest (Rules 4, 6)
  • Private Communication with Decision Makers (Rules 8, 9)
  • Quality of Practice (Rule 1)

6 Cases Settled

  • Abuse of Position/Quality of Practice/Ethical Conduct (Rules 1, 14, 25) — Letter of Admonition
  • Misuse of the AICP Credential (five cases) — Ethics Officer directly contacted offending parties by letter and email. One case demanded a follow-up letter by APA's attorney, whose legal costs were reimbursed by the offending party. All parties ceased use and corrected their business cards, web sites, etc.

No Cases Pending

Ethics Committee Actions During 2016

  • Recommended draft revisions to the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (new Sections C, D, and E), which were approved by the AICP Commission (April).
  • Prepared "Case of the Year" for ethics training purposes.
  • Prepared draft proposal for "Embattled Planners" assistance to AICP Commission; currently updating proposal.
  • Supported a Letter of Admonition as a settlement for one ethical misconduct case.
  • Issued an Advisory Opinion based on a request by an APA Chapter regarding chapter board conflicts of interest.
  • Drafted new ethics-related questions for AICP Exam.
  • Upheld a case dismissal by the Ethics Officer, following an appeal by complainant.
  • Organized an educational webinar, "Ethics and the Digital World," (December) as response to a recommendation by APA's Smart Cities and Sustainability Initiative.

Requests for Informal Advice During 2016 (88 total)

These requests for informal advice covered a wide variety of ethical topics, as shown in the chart below. Note: These numbers reflect issues from misconduct cases and from requests for informal advice.



Ethics Cases During 2015

13 Total Cases

Cases Resolved

4 Cases Dismissed
Abuse of position-Rule 25; Professional disparagement-Rules 1, 10; Technical disagreement-Rules 18, 22, 25; Permit enforcement-Rules 2, 18, 25)


4 Cases Settled
(Misuse of AICP credential (3 cases); False statements-Rules 11, 12, 17)

Cases Pending

2 Cases Under Review
(
Misuse of AICP credential; Inadequate information-Rules 1, 2, 5)

3 Cases In Abeyance (i.e., AICP credential dropped during complaint process)
(Under the influence-Rule 25; Permit enforcement/Staff coercion (Rules 2, 18, 25); False claims/Conflict of interest/Discrimination-Rules 4, 5, 12, 20, 25)

Ethics Committee Actions During 2015

Prepared draft revisions to the Ethics Code (Sections C and D); recommended to AICP Commission

Reversed dismissal of a case by Ethics Officer, who then issued a revised complaint

Requests for Informal Advice During 2015 (40 total)

The number of requests for informal advice — and ethics cases — occurred in these generalized ethical areas:

15 - Conflicts of Interest (Rules 3, 5, 6)
10 - Quality of Practice (Rules 1, 15, 16)
10 - Legal and Ethical Conduct (Rules 2, 25)
8 - Honest and Fair Dealing (Rules 11, 17, 18, 19, 20)
6 - False, Deceptive, or Unsubstantiated Statements (Rules 10, 11, 12, 18)
5 - Loyalty to Employer (Rules 4, 5)
5 - Misuse of AICP Credential
4 - Respect for Confidentiality (Rule 7)
4 - Abuse of Position (Rules 13, 14)
1 - Private Communication with Decision Makers (Rules 8, 9)
1 - Lack of Cooperation with Ethics Compliance (Rules 21, 22, 23, 24, 26)

Ethics Cases During 2014

13 Total Cases

Cases Resolved
9 Cases Dismissed
1 Case Settled

Cases Pending
3 Cases Under Review

Ethics Committee Actions

Upon appeal, upheld Ethics Officer's dismissal of case.

Requests for Informal Advice

20 requests

Ethics Cases During 2013

6 Total Cases

Cases Resolved
1 Case Settled

Cases Pending
5 Cases Under Review

Ethics Committee Actions

Case settled through training requirement.

Requests for Informal Advice

15 requests

Ethics Cases During 2012

2 Total Cases

Cases Resolved
0 Cases Dismissed

Cases Pending
2 Charges Under Review
0 Complaints Under Review

Ethics Committee Actions

No actions

Requests for Formal Advice

No requests

Ethics Cases During 2011

4 Total Cases

Cases Resolved
2 Cases Dismissed

Cases Pending
1 Charge Under Review
1 Complaint Under Review

Ethics Committee Actions

No actions

Requests for Formal Advice

No requests

Ethics Cases During 2010

4 Total Cases

Cases Resolved
2 Cases Dismissed

Cases Pending
1 Charge Under Review
1 Complaint Under Review

Ethics Committee Actions

No actions

Requests for Formal Advice

No requests

Ethics Cases During 2009

11 Total Cases

9 Cases Resolved
4 Cases Dismissed
1 Charge Withdrawn
2 Respondents' Membership Lapsed
2 Appealed Case Dismissals Upheld

2 Cases Pending
1 Charge Under Review
1 Complaint Under Review

Ethics Committee Actions

Upheld Dismissals of 2 Appealed Cases

Requests for Formal Advice

No requests

Ethics Cases During 2008

15 Total Cases

10 Cases Resolved
4 Charges Dismissed and Not Appealed
2 Anonymous Charges Dismissed
1 Charge Settled
1 Respondent Resigned
1 Respondent's Membership Lapsed
1 Respondent Died

5 Cases Pending
1 Charge Pending Investigation
1 Complaint Pending Respondent's Cooperation
1 Complaint Pending Review
2 Charges Appealed

Ethics Committee Actions

No actions

Requests for Formal Advice

No requests

Ethics Cases During 2007

12 Total Cases

6 Cases Resolved
5 Charges Dismissed and Not Appealed
1 Anonymous Charge Dismissed

6 Cases Pending
2 Charges Under Review by Ethics Officer
2 Charges Pending Response from Charging Party
1 Charge Pending Respondent's Submission of Additional Information
1 Charge Pending Investigation

Ethics Committee Actions

No actions

Requests for Formal Advice

No requests

Ethics Cases During 2006

9 Total Cases

4 Cases Resolved
2 Charges Settled by Agreement Between Charging Parties and Respondents
1 Charge Dismissed
1 Member Reinstatement

5 Cases Pending
3 Charges Under Review by Ethics Officer
1 Charge Pending Charging Party's Submission of Additional Information
1 Charge Pending Response from Respondent

Ethics Committee Actions

No actions

Requests for Formal Advice

No requests

Ethics Cases During 2005

7 Total Cases

2 Cases Resolved
1 Complaint Resolved by Settlement Agreement Reached by Ethics Committee and Respondent
1 Complaint Resolved by Court Approved Settlement Agreement

5 Cases Pending
3 Charges Under Review by Ethics Officer
1 Charge Pending Charging Party's Submission of Additional Information
1 Charge Pending Response from Respondent

Ethics Committee Actions

5 Ethics Committee Actions in 2 Cases
1 Tabled Action in Settlement Agreement Pending Further Negotiations
1 Approved Settlement Agreement
1 Upheld the Ethics Officer's Partial Dismissal of Charges
1 Determined Member Violated the Code.
1 Made Disciplinary Action Recommendations to the Commission (under old Code rules)

Requests for Formal Advice

No requests