Dunwoody City Council has unanimously approved a new city ethics ordinance.

The new ordinance, adopted April 1, reworks the city’s process for handling ethics complaints. It is the product of a debate that divided the council last year as city officials filed ethics complaints against one another.

Councilman Terry Nall said the new ordinance addresses issues discovered during the consideration of the competing complaints last year.

“The first ordinance looked good on paper, but failed miserably in practice,” Nall said after the council vote. “It’s a better process now. It’s like everything. You learn from your mistakes.”

City officials said a moratorium imposed on the filing of new ethics complaint filings likely would expire April 14 now that the new ordinance has been adopted. The council adopted the moratorium in January, when it began the process of rewriting the ethics ordinance.

Council members decided to take a new look at the ethics ordinance after a pair of complaints filed by council members required months of consideration and ended up in negotiation last year.

Mayor Mike Davis and members of the council filed an ethics complaint against City Councilwoman Adrian Bonser, accusing her of leaking information from a closed council meeting about the sale and purchase of land for Project Renaissance, the city’s redevelopment project in the Georgetown community.

Bonser then filed a complaint against the mayor and other council members accusing them of holding an illegal executive session and failing to provide adequate public notice. She also filed a complaint accusing Davis of threatening her and asking her to leave office.

All the complaints were dismissed.

Bonser welcomed the changes to the city’s ethics process, saying the complaints last year took more than 10 months and cost her thousands of dollars to resolve.

The new ordinance is “more concise. It speeds up the process,” Bonser said after the vote.

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.