[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of North Collins at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Pursuant to the provisions of § 806 of the General Municipal Law, the Mayor and Board of Trustees of the Village of North Collins, New York, recognizes that there are rules of ethical conduct for public officers and employees which must be observed if a high degree of moral conduct is to be obtained and if public confidence is to be maintained in our unit of local government. It is the purpose of this chapter to promulgate these rules of ethical conduct for the officers and employees of the Village of North Collins, New York. These rules shall serve as a guide for official conduct of the officers and employees of the Village of North Collins, New York. 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 or any other general or special law relating to ethical conduct and conflict of interest of municipal officers and employees.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A pecuniary or material benefit accruing to a municipal officer or employee unless the context otherwise requires. "Interest," as used herein, also includes pecuniary or material benefit accruing to the municipal officer's or employee's spouse, minor children and dependents; a firm, partnership or association of which such officer or employee is a member or employee; a corporation of which such officer or employee is an officer, director or employee; and a corporation of which more than 5% of the outstanding capital stock is owned by any of the aforesaid parties.
- MUNICIPAL OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE
- An officer or employee of the Village of North Collins, New York, whether paid or unpaid, including members of any administrative board, commission or other agency thereof, whether serving in a full-time, part-time or advisory capacity, paid or unpaid. No person shall be deemed to be a "municipal officer or employee" solely by reason of being a volunteer fireman or civil defense volunteer.
Every officer or employee of the Village of North Collins, New York, shall be subject to and shall abide by the following standards of conduct:
Gifts. He shall not, directly or indirectly, solicit any gifts or accept or receive any gift having a value of $25 or more, whether in the form of money, services, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, thing or promise, or any other form, under circumstances in which it would reasonably be inferred that the gift was intended to influence him in the performance of his official duties or was intended as a reward for any official action on his part. However, recognizing the prevalent and accepted practice of the giving of gifts during the Christmas season, such gifts are specifically excepted from this section when it is clearly understood that the receipt of the gifts will not influence the recipient in the performance of this duty. Each member of the Village Board of Trustees, Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals shall file a full and complete list of such Christmas and other gifts for said year and shall submit such lists to the Chairman of the Board of Ethics for the private information of said Board prior to January 31 of the following year. Gifts received at times other than Christmas shall be inventoried by the recipient on the aforesaid Boards, and a list of such gifts shall be submitted simultaneously with the submission of the list of Christmas gifts. Each member of the aforesaid Boards must individually file a declaration of gifts, whether or not he has received any gifts.
Confidential information. He shall not disclose confidential information acquired by him in the course of his official duties or use such information to further his personal interest. He shall not disclose, without proper authorization, any confidential information concerning the affairs of the Village of North Collins. Any inquiring person shall be directed to the public records of the village. Records of all village departments not stated to be public records shall be considered to be confidential.
Representation before one's own agency. He 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 municipal agency of which he is an officer, member or employee or of any municipal agency over which he has jurisdiction or to which he has the power to appoint any member, officer or employee.
Representation before any agency for a contingent fee. He 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 agency of his municipality, whereby his compensation is to be dependent or contingent upon any action by such agency with respect to such matter, provided that this subsection shall not prohibit the fixing at any time of fees based upon the reasonable value of the services rendered.
Disclosure of interest in legislation. To the extent that he knows thereof, a member of the Board of Trustees and any officer or employee of the Village of North Collins, New York, whether paid or unpaid, or full-time or part-time or advisory, who participates in the discussion or gives official opinion to the Mayor and/or Board of Trustees on any legislation before the Mayor and/or Board of Trustees shall publicly disclose on the official record the nature and extent of any direct or indirect financial or other private interest he has in such legislation.
Investments in conflict with official duties. He shall not invest or hold any investment, directly or indirectly, in any financial, business, commercial or other private transaction which creates a conflict with his official duties.
Private employment. He shall not engage in, solicit, negotiate for or promise to accept private employment or render services for private interests when such employment or service creates a conflict with or impairs the proper discharge of his official duties.
Future employment. He shall not, after the termination of service or employment with such municipality, appear before any board or agency of the Village of North Collins, New York, in relation to any case, proceeding or application in which he personally participated during the period of his service or employment or which was under his active consideration.
No officer or employee of the Village of North Collins, New York, whether paid or unpaid, including members of any administrative board, commission or other agency thereof, whether serving in a full-time, part-time or advisory capacity, shall decline or refuse to answer questions specifically or directly relating to the performance of his official duties before any official, board or agency authorized or empowered to so inquire into the performance of such duties. This section shall not be construed as barring any county officer or employee from exercising his constitutional privilege against self-incrimination; however, when such body or agency is wholly civil in nature, failure to fully cooperate with and diligently answer the inquiries of such board or agency shall constitute grounds for dismissal or removal of said officer or employee.
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 of North Collins, New York, or any agency thereof on behalf of himself or any member of his family arising out of any personal injury or property damage or for any lawful benefit authorized or permitted by law.
The Village Clerk of the Village of North Collins, New York, shall cause a copy of this Code of Ethics to be distributed to every officer and employee, part-time or full-time, or in any advisory capacity, paid or unpaid, of the Village of North Collins, New York, within 10 days after the effective date of this chapter. Each officer and employee elected or appointed thereafter shall be furnished a copy before entering upon the duties of his office or employment. In addition, copies shall be made available to the public at the local public library.
In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law, any person who shall knowingly and itentionally violate any of the provisions of this code may be fined, suspended or removed from office or employment, as the case may be, in the manner provided by law.
Membership. There is hereby established a Board of Ethics consisting of five members, to be appointed by the Village Board. A majority of such members shall be persons other than officers or employees of the Village of North Collins but may include at least one member who is an elected or appointed officer or employee of the Village of North Collins. No more than three members of such Board of Ethics shall be of the same political registration.
Term, vacancy and compensation. Members of the Board of Ethics shall serve at the pleasure of the Village Board. Any vacancy shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made. The members of the Board of Ethics shall serve as such without compensation but shall be entitled to receive their actual disbursements and expenses in performing the duties of their office.
Duties. 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 the officers and employees of the Village of North Collins with respect to Article 18 of the General Municipal Law in any Code of Ethics adopted pursuant to such Article, under such rules and regulations as the Board may prescribe. In addition, the Board of Ethics may make recommendations with respect to the drafting and adoption of a Code of Ethics or amendments thereto upon request of the Village Board.
Rules and regulations.
The Board of Ethics, upon adopting rules and regulations relative to the conduct of its business, may render advisory opinions subject to these limitations:
Requests for opinions shall be in writing.
Requests for inquiries must originate with a municipal officer or employee.
The form and content of requests for opinions, which may include indication that certain municipal officials or employees have been advised of such requests.
A copy of any charges brought against an official or employee shall be sent to such person by the Secretary of the Board of Ethics, together with a notice that such official or employee is given a reasonable period of time in which to respond to the charges made against him/her.
A copy of the opinion of the Board of Ethics shall be sent to the person making the inquiry and to the official or employee about whom the inquiry or charge is made.
Rules and regulations adopted to govern the conduct of meetings of the Board shall include the following:
The selection in terms of office of a Chairman and Secretary and such other officers as are deemed necessary if such designations have not been made by the governing board.
The number of Board members constituting a quorum.
The number of Board members necessarily in affirmative agreement to render an opinion.
The form and content of records of proceedings and other Board records.
Such other rules and regulations as may be necessary and proper to accomplish the purposes of this chapter.
It is not the intention of this chapter to relax the common law rules, statutory provisions and judicial decisions concerning conflict of interest, duties of officers and employees and enforcement and penalty provisions; therefore, all such common law rules, statutory provisions and judicial decisions shall remain in full force and effect, provided that said common law rules, statutory provisions and judicial decisions be of greater severity in their application than the provisions of this chapter.