[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Liverpool 2-23-1998 by L.L. No. 2-1998 (Ch. 14 of the 1987 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Pursuant to the provisions of § 806 of the General Municipal Law of the State of New York, the Board of Trustees of the Village of Liverpool, New York, recognizes that there are rules of ethical conduct for public officers and employees which must be observed if they are to inspire public confidence and trust in Village government. Further, nothing is more important to officials and employees of the Village than the Village residents' opinion about their honesty, truthfulness and personal integrity. Finally, any individual or collective compromise with respect to these character traits can damage the ability of the Village government to perform its tasks and accomplish its mission. Accordingly, the purpose of this chapter is to promulgate these rules of ethical conduct for the officers and employees of the Village. These rules shall serve as a guide for official conduct of the officers and employees of the Village. The rules of ethical conduct of this chapter, as adopted, shall not conflict with, but shall be in addition to, any prohibition of Article 18 of the General Municipal Law of the State of New York or any other general or special law relating to ethical conduct and interest in contracts of municipal officers and employees. Section 38-5 also provides for the establishment of a Board of Ethics for the Village pursuant to Article 18 of the General Municipal Law.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated, unless the context otherwise requires:
- A direct or indirect pecuniary or material benefit accruing to a municipal officer or employee of this Village as a result of a contract, law, resolution or ordinance with or of this Village.
- MUNICIPAL OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE
- An officer or employee of the Village, whether paid or unpaid, including members of any administrative board, commission or other agency thereof. No person shall be deemed to be a municipal officer or employee solely by reason of being a volunteer fireman or civil defense volunteer, except a Chief Engineer or Assistant Chief Engineer.
- The Village of Liverpool, New York.
- VILLAGE AGENCY
- Any board, commission, department, bureau or the like of the Village of Liverpool, New York.
- VILLAGE BOARD
- The Board of Trustees of the Village of Liverpool, New York.
Every municipal officer or employee of the Village shall be subject to and abide by the following standards of conduct.
Municipal officers and employees shall seek no favor for their service to the Village and be aware that personal aggrandizement or profit, secured by confidential information or by misuse of public time, is dishonest.
Municipal officers and employees shall not directly or indirectly solicit any gift or receive any gift, whether it be money, services, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, promise or any other form, under the following circumstances:
It is important that the prohibition be limited to circumstances related to improper influence. In de minimis situations such as meal checks for example, a maximum dollar value of $25 will be used as a guideline. The guideline is not intended to isolate elected officials from normal social practices where gifts among friends, associates and relatives are appropriate for certain occasions.
Investments in conflict with official duties. Municipal officers and employees shall not invest or hold any investment, directly or indirectly, in any financial business, commercial or other private transaction that creates a conflict with their official duties.
Personal relationships. Municipal officers and employees shall disclose any personal relationship with any person or organization dealing with the Village when that relationship has any bearing on the dealings of said person or organization with the Village.
Confidential information. No officer or employee of the Village shall disclose any confidential information peculiarly derived from his or her position with the Village to any other agency or person who might obtain a benefit from such information to the detriment of the Village.
Private employment. Municipal officers and employees shall not engage in, solicit, negotiate for or promise to accept private employment nor should they render services for private interests or conduct a private business when such employment, service or business creates a conflict with or impairs the proper discharge of their official duties.
Endorsement. Municipal officers and employees shall not endorse commercial products by agreeing to use their photograph, endorsement or quotation in advertisements, unless the endorsement is for public purpose, is directed by the governing body and the official receives no compensation.
Disclosure of interest in legislation. To the extent that he/she knows thereof, any municipal officer or employee, whether paid or unpaid, who participates in the discussion or gives official opinion to the Village Board on any legislation before the Village Board shall publicly disclose on the official record the nature and extent of any direct or indirect financial or other private interest he/she has in such legislation.
Representation before one's own agency. He/she shall not receive or enter into any agreement, expressed or implied, for compensation for services to be rendered in relation to any matter before any Village agency of which he/she is an officer, member or employee or over any Village agency over which he/she has jurisdiction or to which he has power to appoint any member, officer or employee.
Future employment. He/she shall not, after termination of service or employment with the Village, appear before any Village agency in relation to any case, proceeding or application in which he/she personally participated during the period of his/her service or employment or which was under his/her active consideration. Any future employment shall confer no benefit on the employer or employee by reason of any relationship of said officer or employee with the Village.
Public speech. Municipal officers and employees shall refrain from making public comments that are in violation of the United States Civil Rights Act, as amended, or the New York State Civil Rights Act, as amended, and are contemptuous or dehumanizing to any individual or group. While it is appreciated that there are laws that protect freedom of speech, it is also appreciated that those same laws protect the Board's right to publicly ensure speech made by officials and employees of the Village that is not violative of statute or law.
Nothing herein shall be deemed to bar or prevent the timely filing by a present or former municipal officer or employee of any claim, account, demand or suit against the Village, or any agency thereof, on behalf of him/herself or any member of his/her family arising out of any personal injury or property damage or for any lawful benefit authorized or permitted by law.
There is hereby established a Board of Ethics consisting of three members to be appointed by the Village Board, two of whom shall be persons other than municipal officers or employees and one of whom shall be an elected or appointed municipal officer or employee. The members of the Board of Ethics shall receive no salary or compensation for their services as members of such Board and shall serve at the pleasure of the Village Board.
The Board of Ethics shall have the powers and duties prescribed by Article 18 of the General Municipal Law and shall render advisory opinions to municipal officers and employees with respect to Article 18 of the General Municipal Law and the Code of Ethics adopted by the Village Board pursuant to such article, under such rules and regulations as the Board of Ethics may prescribe. In addition, such Board may make recommendations with respect to drafting and adoption of amendments to the Code of Ethics upon request of the Village Board.
Any suspected violation of the provisions of this chapter shall be referred to the Ethics Committee, which shall investigate and render its advisory opinion to the Board pursuant to § 38-5 herein. The Board shall then take any action it deems appropriate.
If any clause, paragraph, section or part of this chapter shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, 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 be rendered.
This chapter will in no way usurp any existing rules, regulations, laws or codes of the Village of Liverpool, County of Onondaga, State of New York or United States of America.
The Mayor of the Village shall cause a copy of this Code of Ethics to be distributed to every municipal officer and employee within 30 days after the effective date of this chapter. Each municipal officer and employee elected or appointed thereafter shall be furnished a copy before entering upon the duties of his/her office or employment.
This chapter shall take effect 10 days after it is published, posted and filed in accordance with law.