Stephenson County, IL
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the County Board of Stephenson County 6-9-2004 by Ord. No. 04-35-238 (Ch. 13.5 of the 1977 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
County Board — See Ch. 29.
County employees — See Ch. 34.
Defense and indemnification — See Ch. 45.

§ 62-1 Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall be given these definitions:
CAMPAIGN FOR ELECTIVE OFFICE
Any activity in furtherance of an effort to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any individual to any federal, state, or local public office or office in a political organization, or the selection, nomination, or election of presidential or vice presidential electors, but does not include activities:
A. 
Relating to the support or opposition of any executive, legislative, or administrative action;
B. 
Relating to collective bargaining; or
C. 
That are otherwise in furtherance of the person's official duties.
CANDIDATE
A person who has filed nominating papers or petitions for nomination or election to an elected office, or who has been appointed to fill a vacancy in nomination, and who remains eligible for placement on the ballot at a regular election, as defined in Section 1-3 of the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/1-3).
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
Has the same meaning as that term is defined in Section 3 of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (5 ILCS 315/3).
COMPENSATED TIME
With respect to an employee, any time worked by or credited to the employee that counts toward any minimum work time requirement imposed as a condition of his or her employment, but for purposes of this chapter, does not include any designated holidays, vacation periods, personal time, compensatory time off or any period when the employee is on a leave of absence. With respect to officers or employees whose hours are not fixed, compensated time includes any period of time when the officer is on premises under the control of the employer and any other time when the officer or employee is executing his or her official duties, regardless of location.
COMPENSATORY TIME OFF
Authorized time off earned by or awarded to an employee to compensate in whole or in part for time worked in excess of the minimum work time required of that employee as a condition of his or her employment.
CONTRIBUTION
Has the same meaning as that term is defined in Section 9-1.4 of the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/9-1.4).
EMPLOYEE
A person employed by the County of Stephenson, whether on a full-time or part-time basis or pursuant to a contract, whose duties are subject to the direction and control of an employer with regard to the material details of how the work is to be performed, but does not include an independent contractor.
EMPLOYER
The County of Stephenson.
GIFT
Any gratuity, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, forbearance, or other tangible or intangible item having monetary value, including, but not limited to, cash, food and drink, and honoraria for speaking engagements related to or attributable to government employment or the official position of an officer or employee.
LEAVE OF ABSENCE
Any period during which an employee does not receive;
A. 
Compensation for employment;
B. 
Service credit towards pension benefits; and
C. 
Health insurance benefits paid for by the employer.
OFFICER
A person who holds, by election or appointment, an office created by statute or ordinance, regardless of whether the officer is compensated for service in his or her official capacity.
POLITICAL ACTIVITY
Any activity in support of or in connection with any campaign for elective office or any political organization, but does not include activities:
A. 
Relating to the support or opposition of any executive, legislative, or administrative action;
B. 
Relating to collective bargaining; or
C. 
That are otherwise in furtherance of the person's official duties.
POLITICAL ORGANIZATION
A party, committee, association, fund or other organization (whether or not incorporated) that is required to file a statement of organization with the State Board of Elections or a County Clerk under Section 9-3 of the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/03), but only with regard to those activities that require filing with the State Board of Elections or a County Clerk.
A. 
Preparing for, organizing, or participating in any political meeting, political rally, political demonstration, or other political event.
B. 
Soliciting contributions, including but not limited to the purchase of, selling, distributing, or receiving payment for tickets for any political fund-raiser, political meeting, or other political event.
C. 
Soliciting, planning the solicitation of, or preparing any document or report regarding anything of value intended as a campaign contribution.
D. 
Planning, conducting, or participating in a public opinion poll in connection with a campaign for elective office or on behalf of a political organization for political purposes or for or against any referendum question.
E. 
Surveying or gathering information from potential or actual voters in an election to determine probable vote outcome in connection with a campaign for elective office or on behalf of a political organization for political purposes or for or against any referendum question.
F. 
Assisting at the polls on election day on behalf of any political organization or candidate for elective office or for or against any referendum question.
G. 
Soliciting votes on behalf of a candidate for elective office or a political organization or for or against any referendum question or helping in an effort to get voters to the polls.
H. 
Initiating for circulation, preparing, circulating, reviewing, or filing any petition on behalf of a candidate for elective office or for or against any referendum question.
I. 
Making contributions on behalf of any candidate for elective office in that capacity or in connection with a campaign for elective office.
J. 
Preparing or reviewing responses to candidate questionnaires in connection with a campaign for elective office or on behalf of a political organization for political purposes.[1]
K. 
Distributing, preparing for distribution, or mailing campaign literature, campaign signs, or other campaign material on behalf of any candidate for elective office or for or against any referendum question.
L. 
Campaigning for any elective office or for or against any referendum question.
M. 
Managing or working on a campaign for elective office or for or against any referendum question.
N. 
Serving as a delegate, alternate, or proxy to a political party convention.
O. 
Participating in any recount or challenge to the outcome of any election.
PROHIBITED SOURCE
Any person or entity who or which:
A. 
Is seeking official action by an officer or by an employee or by the officer or another employee directing that employee;
B. 
Does business or seeks to do business with the officer or with an employee or with the officer or another employee directing that employee;
C. 
Conducts activities regulated by the officer or by an employee or by the officer or another employee directing that employee; or
D. 
Has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the official duties of the officer or employee.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. IV).

§ 62-2 Prohibited political activities.

A. 
No officer or employee shall intentionally perform any prohibited political activity during any compensated time, as defined herein. No officer or employee shall intentionally use any property or resources of the County in connection with any prohibited political activity.
B. 
At no time shall any officer or employee intentionally require any other officer or employee to perform any prohibited political activity:
(1) 
As part of that officer's or employee's duties;
(2) 
As a condition of employment; or
(3) 
During any compensated time off (such as holidays, vacation or personal time off).
C. 
No officer or employee shall be required at any time to participate in any prohibited political activity in consideration for that officer or employee being awarded additional compensation or any benefit, whether in the form of a salary adjustment, bonus, compensatory time off, continued employment or otherwise, nor shall any officer or employee be awarded additional compensation or any benefit in consideration for his or her participation in any prohibited political activity.
D. 
Nothing in this section prohibits activities that are permissible for an officer or employee to engage in as part of his or her official duties, or activities that are undertaken by an officer or employee on a voluntary basis which are not prohibited by this chapter.
E. 
No person either in a position that is subject to recognized merit principles of public employment or in a position the salary for which is paid in whole or in part by federal funds and that is subject to the federal standards for a merit system of personnel administration applicable to grant-in-aid programs shall be denied or deprived of employment or tenure solely because he or she is a member or an officer of a political committee, of a political party, or of a political organization or club.

§ 62-3 Gifts.

A. 
Gift ban. Except as permitted by this section, no officer or employee, and no spouse of or immediate family member living with any officer or employee (collectively referred to herein as "recipients"), shall intentionally solicit or accept any gift from any prohibited source, as defined herein, or which is otherwise prohibited by law or ordinance. No prohibited source shall intentionally offer or make a gift that violates this section.
B. 
Exceptions.
(1) 
Subsection A above is not applicable to the following:
(a) 
Opportunities, benefits, and services that are available on the same conditions as for the general public.
(b) 
Anything for which the officer or employee, or his or her spouse or immediate family member, pays the fair market value.
(c) 
Any:
[1] 
Contribution that is lawfully made under the Election Code; or
[2] 
Activities associated with a fund-raising event in support of a political organization or candidate.
(d) 
Educational materials and missions.
(e) 
Travel expenses for a meeting to discuss business.
(f) 
A gift from a relative, meaning those people related to the individual as father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, great aunt, great uncle, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, and including the father, mother, grandfather, or grandmother of the individual's spouse and the individual's fiance or fiancee.
(g) 
Anything provided by an individual on the basis of a personal friendship unless the recipient has reason to believe that, under the circumstances, the gift was provided because of the official position or employment of the recipient or his or her spouse or immediate family member and not because of the personal friendship. In determining whether a gift is provided on the basis of personal friendship, the recipient shall consider the circumstances under which the gift was offered, such as:
[1] 
The history of the relationship between the individual giving the gift and the recipient of the gift, including any previous exchange of gifts between those individuals;
[2] 
Whether, to the actual knowledge of the recipient, the individual who gave the gift personally paid for the gift or sought a tax deduction or business reimbursement for the gift; and
[3] 
Whether, to the actual knowledge of the recipient, the individual who gave the gift also at the same time gave the same or similar gifts to other officers or employees, or their spouses or immediate family members.
(h) 
Food or refreshments not exceeding $75 per person in value on a single calendar day; provided that the food or refreshments are consumed on the premises from which they were purchased or prepared or catered. For the purposes of this section, "catered" means food or refreshments that are purchased ready to consume which are delivered by any means.
(i) 
Food, refreshments, lodging, transportation, and other benefits resulting from outside business or employment activities (or outside activities that are not connected to the official duties of an officer or employee), if the benefits have not been offered or enhanced because of the official position or employment of the officer or employee, and are customarily provided to others in similar circumstances.
(j) 
Intragovernmental and intergovernmental gifts. For the purpose of this act, "intragovernmental gift" means any gift given to an officer or employee from another officer or employee, and "intergovernmental gift" means any gift given to an officer or employee by an officer or employee of another governmental entity.
(k) 
Bequests, inheritances, and other transfers at death.
(l) 
Any item or items from any one prohibited source during any calendar year having a cumulative total value of less than $100.
(2) 
Each of the exceptions listed in this subsection is mutually exclusive and independent of every other.
C. 
Disposition of gifts. An officer or employee, his or her spouse or an immediate family member living with the officer or employee does not violate this chapter if the recipient promptly takes reasonable action to return a gift from a prohibited source to its source or gives the gift or an amount equal to its value to an appropriate charity that is exempt from income taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as now or hereafter amended, renumbered, or succeeded.

§ 62-4 Penalty.

A. 
A person who intentionally violates any provision of § 62-2 may be punished by a term of incarceration in a penal institution other than a penitentiary for a period of not more than 364 days, and may be fined in an amount not to exceed $2,500.
B. 
A person who intentionally violates any provision of § 62-3 is subject to a fine in an amount of not less than $1,001 and not more than $5,000.
C. 
Any person who intentionally makes a false report alleging a violation of any provision of this chapter to the local enforcement authorities, the State's Attorney or any other law enforcement official may be punished by a term of incarceration in a penal institution other than a penitentiary for a period of not more than 364 days, and may be fined in an amount not to exceed $2,500.
D. 
A violation of § 62-2 shall be prosecuted as a criminal offense by an attorney designated by the County Board, with the consent of the County State's Attorney, by filing in the Circuit Court an information, or sworn complaint, charging such offense. The prosecution shall be under and conform to the rules of criminal procedure. Conviction shall require the establishment of the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. A violation of § 62-3 shall be prosecuted as a quasi-criminal offense by an attorney designated by the County Board of the County, with the consent of the County State's Attorney.
E. 
In addition to any penalty that may be applicable, whether criminal or civil, an officer or employee who intentionally violates any provision of § 62-2 or 62-3 is subject to discipline or discharge.