[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Pleasant Prairie 6-21-2004 by Ord. No. 04-29 (§ 1.08 of the 1988 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The proper operation of democratic government requires that public officials and employees be independent, impartial and responsible to the people; that government decisions and policy be made in proper channels of the governmental structure; that the public office not be used for personal gain; and that the public have confidence in the integrity of its government. In recognition of these goals, there is hereby established in this chapter a Code of Ethics for all Village of Pleasant Prairie officials and employees, whether elected or appointed, paid or unpaid, including members of boards, committees and commissions of the Village, as well as any individuals who are candidates for elective office as soon as such individuals file nomination papers with the Village.
The purpose of this Ethics Code is to establish guidelines for ethical standards of conduct for all such officials and employees by setting forth those acts or actions that are incompatible with the best interests of the Village of Pleasant Prairie and by directing disclosure by such officials and employees of private financial or other interests in matters affecting the Village. The Village Board believes that a Code of Ethics for the guidance of elected and appointed officials and employees will help them avoid conflicts between their personal interests and their public responsibilities, will improve standards of public service and will promote and strengthen the faith and confidence of the citizens of this Village in their elected and appointed officials and employees. The Village Board hereby reaffirms that each elected and appointed Village official and employee holds his or her position as a public trust, and any intentional effort to realize substantial personal gain through official conduct is a violation of that trust. The provisions and purpose of this Ethics Code and such roles and regulations as may be established are hereby declared to be in the best interests of the Village of Pleasant Prairie.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ANYTHING OF VALUE
- Any gift, favor, loan, service or promise of future employment, but does not include reasonable fees and honorariums or the exchange of seasonal, anniversary or customary gifts among relatives and friends.
- Any corporation, partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, organization, self-employed individual or any other legal entity which engages in profit-making activities.
- FINANCIAL INTEREST
- Any interest that shall yield, directly or indirectly, a monetary or other material benefit to the officer or employee or to any person employing or retaining the services of the officer or employee.
- PERSONAL INTEREST
- The following specific blood or marriage relationships:
- PUBLIC EMPLOYEE
- Any person excluded from the definition of "public official" whom the Village employs.
- PUBLIC OFFICIAL
- Those persons serving in statutory elected or appointed offices provided for in Ch. 61, Wis. Stats., and all members appointed to boards, committees and commissions established or appointed by the Village President and/or Village Board pursuant to this Code, whether paid or unpaid. In addition, "public official" shall mean any individuals who are candidates for elective office as soon as such individuals file nomination papers with the Village.
- SIGNIFICANT INTEREST
- Owning or controlling, directly or indirectly, at least 10% of the outstanding stock of any business.
There are certain provisions of the Wisconsin Statutes which should, while not set forth herein, be considered an integral part of any Code of Ethics. Accordingly, the provisions of the following sections of the Wisconsin Statutes, as from time to time amended, are made a part of this Code of Ethics and shall apply to public officials and employees whenever applicable:
Public officials and employees are agents of public purpose and hold office for the benefit of the public. They are bound to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this state and carry out impartially the laws of the nation, state and municipality, to observe in their official acts the highest standards of morality and to discharge faithfully the duties of their office regardless of personal considerations, recognizing that the public interest must be their prime concern.
Officials and employees should adhere to the rules of work and performance established as the standard for their positions by the appropriate authority.
Officials and employees should not exceed their authority or breach the law or ask others to do so, and they should work in full cooperation with other public officials and employees unless prohibited from so doing by law or by officially recognized confidentiality for their work.
Members of the Village staff are expected to follow their appropriate professional code of ethics.
Use of public property. No official or employee shall use or permit the unauthorized use of Village-owned vehicles, equipment, materials or property for personal convenience or profit, except when such services are available to the public generally or are provided as Village policy for the use of such official or employee in the conduct of official business, as authorized by the Village Board or authorizes board, commission or committee.
Obligations to citizens. No official or employee shall grant any special consideration, treatment or advantage to anyone beyond that which is available to every other person. No official or employee shall use or attempt to use his or her position with the Village to secure any advantage, preference or gain, over and above his or her rightful remuneration and benefits, for himself or herself or for a member of his or her immediate family.
Political contributions. No official shall personally solicit from any Village employee, other than an elected official, a contribution to a political campaign or committee for which the person subject to this chapter is a candidate or treasurer.
Financial and personal interest prohibited.
No official or employee of the Village, whether paid or unpaid, shall engage in any business or transaction or shall act in regard to financial or other personal interest, direct or indirect, which is incompatible with the proper discharge of official duties in the public interest contrary to the provision of this chapter or which would tend to impair independence of judgment or action in the performance of official duties.
Any member of the Village Board who has a financial interest or personal interest in any proposed legislation before the Village Board shall disclose on the records of the Village Board the nature and extent of such interest; such official shall not participate in debate or vote for adoption or defeat of such legislation. If the matter before the Board involves a member's personal interest with persons involved, the member may participate in debate or discussion and vote on the matter following disclosure, unless an ordinance or contract is involved; if an ordinance or contract is involved, such official shall not participate in debate or discussion and vote on the matter.
Any nonelected official, other than a Village employee, who has a financial interest or personal interest in any proposed legislative action of the Village Board or any board, commission or committee upon which the official has any influence or input or of which the official is a member that is to make a recommendation or decision upon any item which is the subject of the proposed legislative action shall disclose on the records of the Village Board or the appropriate board, commission or committee the nature and extent of such interest. Such official shall not participate in debate or discussion or vote for adoption or defeat of such legislation.
Any Village employee who has a financial interest or personal interest in any proposed legislative action or the Village Board or any board, commission or committee upon which the employee has any influence or input or of which the employee is a member that is a make to recommendation or decision upon any item which is the subject of the proposed legislative action shall disclose on the records of the Village Board or the appropriate board, commission or committee the nature and extent of such interest.
Disclosure of confidential information. No official or employee shall, without proper legal authorization, disclose confidential information concerning the property, government or affairs of the Village, nor shall such information be used to advance the financial or other private interests of the official or employee or others.
Gifts and favors.
No official or employee, personally or through a member of his or her immediate family, may solicit or accept, either directly or indirectly, from any person or organization, money or anything of value if it could be expected to influence the employee's official actions or judgments or be considered a reward for any action or inaction on the part of the official or employee.
No official or employee, personally or through a member of his or her immediate family, shall accept any gift, whether in the form of money, service, loan, thing or promise, from any person which may tend to impair his or her independence of judgment or action in the performance of his or her duties or grant in the discharge of his or her duties any improper favor, service or thing of value. However, it is not a conflict of interest for any public official or employee to receive a gift or gratuity that is an unsolicited item of nominal intrinsic value, such as a meal, and that is not intended to influence the official. Any official or employee who receives, directly or indirectly, any gift or gifts from any person who is known by said official or employee to be interested, directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever in business dealings with the Village upon which the official or employee has any influence or input or over which the official or employee has any jurisdiction, discretion or control shall disclose the nature and value of such gifts to the Village Board by January 15 next following the year in which the gift or gifts are received.
An official or employee is not to accept hospitality if, after consideration of the surrounding circumstances, it could reasonably be concluded that such hospitality would not be extended were it not for the fact that the guest, or a member of the guest's immediate family, was a Village official or employee. Participation in celebrations, grand openings, open houses, informational meetings and similar events are excluded from this prohibition. This subsection further shall not be construed to prevent candidates for elective office from accepting hospitality from citizens for the purpose of supporting the candidate's campaign.
Gifts received by an official or employee or his or her immediate family under unusual circumstances shall be referred to the Village Board within 10 days of receipt for recommended disposition. Any person subject to this chapter who becomes aware that he is or has been offered any gift, the acceptance of which would constitute a violation of this section, shall, within 10 days, disclose the details surrounding said offer to the Village Board. Failure to comply with this reporting requirement shall constitute an offense under this chapter.