2-2-144. Enforcement for local government. (1) Except as provided in subsections (5) and (6), a person alleging a violation of this part by a local government officer or local government employee shall notify the county attorney of the county where the local government is located. The county attorney shall request from the complainant or the person who is the subject of the complaint any information necessary to make a determination concerning the validity of the complaint.
(2) If the county attorney determines that the complaint is justified, the county attorney may bring an action in district court seeking a civil fine of not less than $50 or more than $1,000. If the county attorney determines that the complaint alleges a criminal violation, the county attorney shall bring criminal charges against the officer or employee.
(3) If the county attorney declines to bring an action under this section, the person alleging a violation of this part may file a civil action in district court seeking a civil fine of not less than $50 or more than $1,000. In an action filed under this subsection, the court may assess the costs and attorney fees against the person bringing the charges if the court determines that a violation did not occur or against the officer or employee if the court determines that a violation did occur. The court may impose sanctions if the court determines that the action was frivolous or intended for harassment.
(4) The employing entity of a local government employee may take disciplinary action against an employee for a violation of this part.
(5) (a) A local government may establish a three-member panel to review complaints alleging violations of this part by officers or employees of the local government. The local government shall establish procedures and rules for the panel. The members of the panel may not be officers or employees of the local government. The panel shall review complaints and may refer to the county attorney complaints that appear to be substantiated. If the complaint is against the county attorney, the panel shall refer the matter to the commissioner of political practices and the complaint must then be processed by the commissioner pursuant to 2-2-136.
(b) In a local government that establishes a panel under this subsection (5), a complaint must be referred to the panel prior to making a complaint to the county attorney.
(6) If a local government review panel has not been established pursuant to subsection (5), a person alleging a violation of this part by a county attorney shall file the complaint with the commissioner of political practices pursuant to 2-2-136.