[Added 9-14-2015 by L.L. No. 3-2015]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Art. I, General Provisions, as amended.
Officers and employees of the City of Newburgh hold their positions to serve and benefit the public, and not for obtaining unwarranted personal or private gain in the exercise and performance of their official powers and duties. The City of Newburgh recognizes that, in furtherance of this fundamental principle, there is a need for clear and reasonable standards of ethical conduct. This Code of Ethics establishes those standards.
For purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings described in this section:
- The governing board of a municipality and any municipal administrative board (e.g., planning board, zoning or board of appeals), commission, or other agency or body comprised of two or more municipal officers or employees.
- This Code of Ethics.
- A direct or indirect financial or material benefit, but does not include any benefit arising from the provision or receipt of any services generally available to the residents or taxpayers of the municipality or an area of the municipality, or a lawful class of such residents or taxpayers. A municipal officer or employee is deemed to have an interest in any private organization when he or she, his or her spouse, or a member of his or her household is an owner, partner, member, director, officer, employee, or directly or indirectly owns or controls more than 5% of the organization's outstanding stock.
- City of Newburgh. The word "municipal" refers to the municipality.
- MUNICIPAL OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE
- A paid or unpaid officer or employee of the City of Newburgh, including, but not limited to, the members of any municipal board.
- A spouse, parent, step-parent, sibling, step-sibling, sibling's spouse, child, step-child, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, first cousin, or household member of a municipal officer or employee, and individuals having any of these relationships to the spouse of the officer or employee.
This Code of Ethics applies to the officers and employees of the City of Newburgh, and shall supersede any prior municipal Code of Ethics. The provisions of this Code of Ethics shall apply in addition to all applicable state and local laws relating to conflicts of interest and ethics, including, but not limited to, Article 18 of the General Municipal Law and all rules, regulations, policies and procedures of the City of Newburgh.
No municipal officer or employee shall use his or her municipal position or official powers and duties to secure a financial or material benefit for himself or herself, a relative, or any private organization in which he or she is deemed to have an interest.
No municipal officer or employee shall direct or cause any officer or employee of the City to do or perform any service or work outside of public work or employment, or accept any such service or work, nor shall any such officer or employee offer to perform any such service or work for such officer or employee, including participation in an election campaign or contribution to a political committee.
No municipal officer or employee shall request of members of City Council, City staff or department heads that any individual receive preferential consideration in connection with provision of services or any appointment or, by his or her conduct, give reasonable basis for the impression that any person can improperly influence him or her or unduly enjoy his or her favor in the performance of his or her official duties, or that he or she is affected by kinship, rank, position or influence of any party or person.
Whenever a matter requiring the exercise of discretion comes before a municipal officer or employee, either individually or as a member of a board, and disposition of the matter could result in a direct or indirect financial or material benefit to himself or herself, a relative, or any private organization in which he or she is deemed to have an interest, the municipal officer or employee shall disclose in writing the nature of the interest.
The disclosure shall be made when the matter requiring disclosure first comes before the municipal officer or employee, or when the municipal officer or employee first acquires knowledge of the interest requiring disclosure, whichever is earlier.
In the case of a person serving in an elective office, the disclosure shall be filed with the governing board of the municipality. In all other cases, the disclosure shall be filed with the person's supervisor, or, if the person does not have a supervisor, the disclosure shall be filed with the municipal officer, employee or board having the power to appoint to the person's position. In addition, in the case of a person serving on a municipal board, a copy of the disclosure shall be filed with the board. Any disclosure made to a board shall be made publicly at a meeting of the board and must be included in the minutes of the meeting.
No municipal officer or employee may participate in any decision or take any official action with respect to any matter requiring the exercise of discretion, including discussing the matter and voting on it, when he or she knows or has reason to know that the action could confer a direct or indirect financial or material benefit on himself or herself, a relative, or any private organization in which he or she is deemed to have an interest.
In the event that this section prohibits a municipal officer or employee from exercising or performing a power or duty:
If the power or duty is vested in a municipal officer as a member of a board, then the power or duty shall be exercised or performed by the other members of the board; or
If the power or duty is vested in a municipal officer individually, then the power or duty shall be exercised or performed by his or her deputy, or, if the officer does not have a deputy, the power or duty shall be performed by another person to whom the officer may lawfully delegate the function.
If the power or duty is vested in a municipal employee, he or she must refer the matter to his or her immediate supervisor, and the immediate supervisor shall designate another person to exercise or perform the power or duty.
This code's prohibition on use of a municipal position (§ 34-4), disclosure requirements (§ 34-4.1), and requirements relating to recusal and abstention (§ 34-4.2), shall not apply with respect to the following matters:
Adoption of the municipality's annual budget;
Any matter that does not require the exercise of discretion.
Recusal and abstention shall not be required with respect to any matter which:
Comes before a board when a majority of the board's total membership would otherwise be prohibited from acting by § 34-4.2 of this code;
No municipal officer or employee may acquire the following investments:
This section does not prohibit a municipal officer or employee from acquiring any other investments or the following assets:
Real property located within the municipality and used as his or her personal residence;
Less than 5% of the stock of a publicly traded corporation; or
Bonds or notes issued by the municipality and acquired more than one year after the date on which the bonds or notes were originally issued.
No municipal officer or employee, during his or her tenure as a municipal officer or employee, may engage in any private employment, including the rendition of any business, commercial, professional or other types of services, when the employment:
Can be reasonably expected to require more than sporadic recusal and abstention pursuant to § 34-4.2 of this code;
Can be reasonably expected to require disclosure or use of confidential information gained by reason of serving as a municipal officer or employee;
Violates Section 805-a(1)(c) or (d) of the General Municipal Law; or
Requires representation of a person or organization other than the municipality in connection with litigation, negotiations or any other matter to which the municipality is a party.
No municipal officer or employee may ask for, pursue or accept a private post-government employment opportunity with any person or organization that has a matter requiring the exercise of discretion pending before the municipal officer or employee, either individually or as a member of a board, while the matter is pending or within the 30 days following final disposition of the matter.
No municipal officer or employee, for the two-year period after serving as a municipal officer or employee, may represent or render services to a private person or organization in connection with any matter involving the exercise of discretion before the municipal office, board, department or comparable organizational unit for which he or she serves.
No municipal officer or employee, at any time after serving as a municipal officer or employee, may represent or render services to a private person or organization in connection with any particular transaction in which he or she personally and substantially participated while serving as a municipal officer or employee.
This code shall not be construed as prohibiting a municipal officer or employee from:
Municipal resources shall be used for lawful municipal purposes. Municipal resources include, but are not limited to, municipal personnel, and the municipality's money, vehicles, equipment, materials, supplies or other property.
No municipal officer or employee may use or permit the use of municipal resources for personal or private purposes, but this provision shall not be construed as prohibiting:
Any use of municipal resources authorized by law or municipal policy;
The use of municipal resources for personal or private purposes when provided to a municipal officer or employee as part of his or her compensation; or
The occasional and incidental use during the business day of municipal telephones and computers for necessary personal matters such as family care and changes in work schedule.
No municipal officer or employee shall cause the municipality to spend more than is reasonably necessary for transportation, meals or lodging in connection with official travel.
No municipal officer or employee may have an interest in a contract that is prohibited by Section 801 of the General Municipal Law.
Every municipal officer and employee shall disclose interests in contracts with the municipality at the time and in the manner required by Section 803 of the General Municipal Law.
Except as otherwise required by law:
No municipal officer or employee, either individually or as a member of a board, may participate in any decision specifically to appoint, hire, promote, discipline or discharge a relative for any position at, for or within the municipality or a municipal board.
No municipal officer or employee may supervise a relative in the performance of the relative's official powers or duties.
No municipal officer or employee shall directly or indirectly compel or induce a subordinate municipal officer or employee to make, or promise to make, any political contribution, whether by gift of money, service or other thing of value.
No municipal officer or employee may act or decline to act in relation to appointing, hiring or promoting, discharging, disciplining, or in any manner changing the official rank, status or compensation of any municipal officer or employee, or an applicant for a position as a municipal officer or employee, on the basis of the giving or withholding or neglecting to make any contribution of money or service or any other valuable thing for any political purpose.
No municipal officer or employee who acquires confidential information in the course of exercising or performing his or her official powers or duties may disclose or use such information unless the disclosure or use is required by law or in the course of exercising or performing his or her official powers and duties.
No municipal officer or employee shall directly or indirectly solicit any gift, or accept or receive any gift, whether in the form of money, service, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, thing or promise, or in any other form, under circumstances in which it could be reasonably inferred that the gift was intended to influence him or her, or could reasonably be expected to influence him or her, in the performance of his or her official duties or was intended as a reward for any official action on his or her part.
A gift to a municipal officer or employee is presumed to be intended to influence the exercise or performance of his or her official powers or duties when the gift is from a private person or organization that seeks municipal action involving the exercise of discretion by or with the participation of the officer or employee.
A gift to a municipal officer or employee is presumed to be intended as a reward for official action when the gift is from a private person or organization that has obtained municipal action involving the exercise of discretion by or with the participation of the officer or employee during the preceding 12 months.
This section does not prohibit any other gift, including:
Gifts made to the municipality;
Gifts from a person with a family or personal relationship with the officer or employee when the circumstances make it clear that the personal relationship, rather than the recipient's status as a municipal officer or employee, is the primary motivating factor for the gift;
Gifts given on special occasions, such as marriage, illness, or retirement, which are modest, reasonable and customary;
Unsolicited advertising or promotional material of little intrinsic value, such as pens, pencils, note pads, and calendars;
Awards and plaques having a value of $75 or less which are publicly presented in recognition of service as a municipal officer or employee, or other service to the community; or
Meals and refreshments provided when a municipal officer or employee is a speaker or participant at a job-related professional or educational conference or program and the meals and refreshments are made available to all participants.
There is hereby established a Board of Ethics for the municipality. The Board of Ethics shall consist of five members, a majority of whom shall not be officers or employees of the municipality, but at least one of whom must be a municipal officer or employee. The members of such Board of Ethics shall be appointed by the City Council of the City of Newburgh.
The Board of Ethics, as constituted at the time of the enactment of this chapter, shall continue in existence. The term of office of each member shall be five years, and the term shall continue until a successor shall be appointed. If a vacancy shall occur other than by expiration of the term, it shall be filled in the same manner as the predecessor appointment to complete the unexpired term.
A chairperson of the Board of Ethics shall be selected by a majority vote of the members of the Board of Ethics.
The Board of Ethics shall serve at the pleasure of the City Council. The body shall receive no salary or compensation for their services as members of the Board of Ethics.
No member shall hold the office of Chair, First Vice Chair, Second Vice Chair, Secretary or Treasurer, or Sergeant at Arms in a federal, state or Orange County political party. No more than four members shall be of the same enrolled political party affiliation at the time of their appointment.
Powers and duties of the Board of Ethics. The Board of Ethics shall have the following powers and duties:
The Board of Ethics shall render advisory opinions to the officers and employees of the City of Newburgh with respect to Article 18 of the General Municipal Law and this code. Such advisory opinions must be rendered pursuant to the written request of any member of the general public, any officer or employee of the City of Newburgh or any member of the Board of Ethics in accordance with the following procedures:
The complaint must be submitted on a form as prescribed by the Board of Ethics which shall be available at the office of the City Clerk and on the City of Newburgh website. The Board of Ethics shall not consider any complaint form which is incomplete;
The complaint must be signed by the complainant and include a current, valid address of the complainant;
The complaint shall be mailed to the Board of Ethics or to Newburgh City Hall, or submitted to the office of the City Clerk, for filing with the Board of Ethics;
Written receipt of complaints shall be acknowledged within 60 days of receipt of the complaint;
All complaints shall be kept in the confidential records of the Board of Ethics;
No meeting or proceeding or hearing of the Board of Ethics concerning a possible violation of this chapter shall be open to the public, except upon the written request of the officer of the City or employee, or as required by the provisions of Article 7 of the Public Officers Law or by some other state or federal law or regulation;
The Board of Ethics shall render an advisory opinion on all complaints;
Should the Board of Ethics determine there appears to be merit or probable cause in the complaint, it shall send a written invitation to the officer or employee in question to appear at a private meeting of the board to explain the issue in dispute. The invitation shall contain a statement of the facts upon which the Board of Ethics has relied for its determination of probable cause and a statement of the provisions of law allegedly violated. Such City officer or employee shall have a reasonable time to respond either orally or in writing and shall have the right to be represented by counsel or any other person;
If, after consideration of the response of the officer or employee, the Board of Ethics determines that there remains probable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, the Board of Ethics shall hold or direct a hearing to be held on the record to determine whether such violation has occurred or refer the matter to the appropriate department or appointing authority if the City officer or employee is subject to the jurisdiction of any state law or collective bargaining agreement which provides for conduct of disciplinary proceedings. When such matter is referred to such department or appointing authority, the department or appointing authority shall consult with the board before issuing a final decision;
If the Board of Ethics determines, after a hearing or the opportunity for a hearing, that a City officer or employee has violated this article, it shall, after consultation with the head of the department or appointing authority for the officer or employee, issue an advisory opinion recommending such penalties as provided for by this article as it deems appropriate to the head of the department or appointing authority. The advisory opinion shall include findings of fact and conclusions of law. When a penalty is recommended, the head of the department or the appointing authority shall report to the Board of Ethics what action was taken;
The findings, conclusions, advisory opinions and recommendations of the Board of Ethics shall be made public if it is determined that the person who was the subject of the hearing knowingly violated this article or that it is unreasonable that such person did not know of such violation;
The Board of Ethics shall maintain an index of all persons found to be in violation of this article by name, office and date of order. The index and the determination of probable cause and orders in such cases shall be made available for public inspection and copying;
Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit the appointing authority of a City officer or employee from terminating or otherwise disciplining such City officer or employee, where such appointing authority is otherwise authorized to do so; provided, however, that such an action by the appointing officer shall not preclude the board from exercising its powers and duties under this article with respect to actions of any City officer or employee.
The Board of Ethics shall have the advice of legal counsel employed by the board or, if none, the municipality's legal counsel.
The Board of Ethics may make recommendations with respect to the drafting and adoption of a Code of Ethics, or amendments thereto, upon the request of the City of Newburgh.
The Board of Ethics may accept from the general public or any of its own members or any City officer or employee a complaint or allegation of a violation of this chapter by a City officer or employee.
The Board of Ethics shall have the power to issue subpoenas and require the appearances of witnesses to testify under oath and to require the production of books and records and other physical evidence; and following which and as part thereof, make recommendations to the City Council, City Manager, Corporation Counsel and/or other appropriate public officer or agency as to such further action, discipline or other measures as the board deems fitting and proper.
The Board of Ethics shall receive and serve as the reviewing agency of all annual letters of disclosure filed by such City officers, officials and employees as are required to do so by this chapter. Following the review of such and any further action or investigation arising therefrom, the Board of Ethics shall then convey all such original annual letters of disclosure to the City Clerk whose office shall be the official repository thereof.
The Board of Ethics shall receive and approve for good cause shown or reasonably deny any application for an extension of time to file the annual letter of disclosure required by this chapter. Such approval or denial shall be based upon a full and fair consideration of the application and the relevant facts and circumstances. The Board of Ethics shall provide such applicant with the written decision of the Board of Ethics and the basis thereof.
The City of Newburgh City Manager must promptly cause a copy of this code, and a copy of any amendment to this code, to be posted publicly and conspicuously in each building under the municipality's control. The code must be posted within 10 days following the date on which the code takes effect. An amendment to the code must be posted within 10 days following the date on which the amendment takes effect.
The City Manager must promptly cause a copy of this code, including any amendments to the code, to be distributed to every person who is or becomes an officer and employee of the City of Newburgh.
Every municipal officer or employee who receives a copy of this code or an amendment to the code must acknowledge such receipt in writing. Such acknowledgments must be filed with the City Clerk who must maintain such acknowledgments as a public record.
The failure to post this code or an amendment to the code does not affect either the applicability or enforceability of the code or the amendment. The failure of a municipal officer or employee to receive a copy of this Code of Ethics or an amendment to the code, or to acknowledge receipt thereof in writing, does not affect either the applicability or enforceability of the code or amendment to the code.
Any municipal officer or employee who violates this code may be censured, fined, suspended or removed from office or employment in the manner provided by law.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this article shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered.