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Town of Addison, WI
Washington County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Addison at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Boards, commissions and committees — See Ch. 10.
Officers and employees — See Ch. 88.
Town Board — See Ch. 117.
This code shall be known as, referred to, or cited as the "Town of Addison Ethics Code."
The proper operation of a democratic government requires that public officials and employees be independent, impartial and responsible to the people; that government decisions and policies be made in proper channels of the government structure; that public office and employment not be used for improper personal gain; and that the public have confidence in the integrity of its government. The Town Board of Addison believes that a Code of Ethics for the guidance of officials and employees will help them avoid conflicts which are substantial and material between their personal interests and their public responsibilities. In recognition of these goals, there is hereby established a Code of Ethics for Town of Addison officials and employees. It is intended that this code shall apply to all persons whose functions require the exercise of discretion and judgment. Nothing herein contained is intended to deny to any individual rights granted by the United States Constitution, the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin, the laws of the State of Wisconsin or by any negotiated labor agreements.
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 the State of Wisconsin and to carry out impartially the laws of the nation, state and Town, and to observe in their official acts the highest standards of ethics and to discharge faithfully the duties of their office regardless of personal considerations, recognizing that the public interest must be their primary concern. Their conduct in their official actions should be above reproach so as to foster respect for all government.
A. 
Public trust. The Addison Town Board hereby reaffirms that any Town public official or employee holds his or her position as a public trust, and any effort to realize an improper personal gain through official conduct is a violation of that trust. This section does not prevent any Town public official from accepting other employment or of following any pursuit which in no way interferes with the full and faithful discharge of his or her duties to this Town. The Town Board further recognizes that in a representative democracy, the representatives are drawn from society and, therefore, cannot and should not be without all personal and economic interest in the decisions and policies of government; that citizens who serve as Town public officials retain their rights as citizens to interests of a personal or economic nature; that standards of ethical conduct for Town public officials need to distinguish between those minor and inconsequential conflicts that are unavoidable in a free society, and those conflicts which are substantial and material; and that Town public officials may need to engage in employment, professional or business activities, other than official duties in order to support themselves or their families and to maintain a continuity of professional or business activity, or may need to maintain investments, which activities or investments do not conflict with the specific provisions of this section.
B. 
Use of public property. No official or employee shall request or permit the use of Town services or of Town-owned vehicles, equipment, materials or property for nonofficial purposes or personal profit, except when such services or uses are available to the general public or except as hereinafter set forth.
C. 
Obligations to citizens. All persons shall be treated fairly and impartially and without discrimination in accordance with the federal and state constitutions. No official or employee shall grant or use undue influence in obtaining any special consideration, treatment, or advantage to any citizen beyond that which is available to every other citizen, nor shall any official or employee hinder or obstruct the efforts of any citizen to acquire or exercise rights duly afforded him or her.
D. 
Special conflicts and standards of conduct enumerated. Conflicts of interest prohibited under this section and expected standards of conduct by Town employees and officials shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(1) 
Incompatible employment. No official or employee shall engage in or accept private employment or render services for compensation for a private interest when such employment or service is incompatible with the proper discharge of official duties or would impair the independence or judgment or action in the performance of official duties or would lessen the time to perform such duties. Disclosure of all outside employment must be made to an immediate supervisor regarding the nature and extent of the outside employment prior to accepting such employment.
(2) 
Disclosure of confidential information. No official or employee shall, without proper authorization, disclose legally confidential information gathered in the course of public employment concerning the affairs of the Town or of a citizen, nor shall be use such information to advance the financial or personal interest of himself or others.
(3) 
Representing private interests before Town agencies or courts. No official or employee who is admitted to practice law in the State of Wisconsin shall represent as an advocate any private interests, other than himself, or his family, before any Town agency; nor shall any official or employee who is admitted to practice law in the State of Wisconsin represent as an advocate any private interests other than himself, or his family, in any proceeding adverse to the Town in any court.
(4) 
Gifts and favor. No person or organization may offer or give to a Town public official or employee, directly or indirectly, and no Town public official or employee may solicit or accept from any person or organization, directly or indirectly, anything of value if it could reasonably be expected to influence such Town public official's or employee's official actions or judgment, or could reasonably be considered as a reward for any official action or inaction on the part of such Town public official or employee. This subsection does not prohibit a Town public official or employee from engaging in outside employment not in conflict with this policy.
(5) 
Insider advantage. No Town public official or employee may intentionally use or disclose information gained in the course of or by reason of his or her official position or activities in any way that could result in the receipt of anything of value for himself or herself, for his or her immediate family, or for any other person or organization, if the information has not been communicated to the public or is not public information.
(6) 
Influence peddling. No Town public official or employee may use or attempt to use his public position to influence or gain unlawful benefits or to influence or gain advantages or privileges for himself or others.
(7) 
Contracting (personal gain). Except as otherwise provided by § 946.13, Wis. Stats., or as it may hereinafter be amended, no official or employee shall, in his private capacity, negotiate or bid for or enter into a contract in which he has a private pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, if at the time he is authorized or required by law to participate in his capacity as such officer or employee in the making of that contract or to perform in regard to that contract some official function requiring the exercise of discretion on his part, nor shall any official or employee, in his official capacity, participate in the making of a contract in which he has a private pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, or perform in regard to that contract some function requiring the exercise of discretion on his part. A violation of § 946.13, Wis. Stats., or as it may hereinafter be amended, shall also constitute a violation of this code.
(8) 
Consulting. No employee is to serve as a consultant to any entity or corporation doing business with, or seeking to do business with, the Town of Addison, subject to exemptions in the Wisconsin State statutes or a Town ordinance.
(9) 
Business associates and clientele. No Town official or employee shall render service to or make any decision concerning or involving any former, present or future business associate or client without first revealing in writing to his or her immediate superior the nature and the extent of the relationship.
(10) 
Issuance of permits. No Town official or employee empowered to issue a discretionary permit under either the state or local laws or regulations shall issue any such permit to himself or to any member of that individual's immediate family without first revealing in writing the request for such permit to that individual's immediate superior.
(11) 
Material conflict of interest. No Town employee shall engage in any material conflict of interest as defined in § 41-6C.
(12) 
Personal services. No employee shall be required to perform any private work or private or personal service for any other Town employee or official or make a contribution to any other such employee or official of Town of Addison.
(13) 
Falsifying claims or records. No Town employee or official shall engage in submitting any falsified claim or in preparing or presenting any false information or record or misrepresentation, either oral or written, in the course of any work falling within the scope of their employment.
(14) 
Misuse or misappropriation of Town property or funds. No Town official or employee shall misuse or misappropriate any Town funds or property.
(15) 
Notification of conflicts. No Town official or employee shall willfully fail to disclose to his or her immediate superior any conflict of interest involving another Town employee or official.
(16) 
Town Board members, and members of Plan Commission, Board of Appeals and Board of Review. Prior to a vote being taken on any matter affecting a parcel of land in the Town of Addison, members of the Town Board, Plan Commission, Board of Appeals and Board of Review must disclose any interest they or any member of their family or employer may have in any such parcel of land in the Town of Addison and furthermore shall abstain from voting on such matter.
(17) 
Failure to perform duty. No Town official or employee shall fail to perform his or her statutory duty.
(18) 
Town Board member eligibility for office or position. Member of the Town Board shall only be eligible for another office or position on Town government in accordance with the provisions of § 66.0501, Wis. Stats.
A. 
The following sections of the Wisconsin Statutes, or as they may hereinafter be amended, are hereby incorporated by reference and made a part of this Code of Ethics:
(1) 
Section 12.05, False Representations Affecting Elections.
(2) 
Section 19.01, Oaths and Bonds.
(3) 
Section 19.21, Custody and Delivery of Official Property and Records.
(4) 
Section 19.31 through 19.39, Public Records.
(5) 
Section 19.59, Codes of Ethics for Local Government officials, employees and candidates.
(6) 
Section 19.81 through 19.89, Open Meeting of Governmental Bodies.
(7) 
Section 946.12, Misconduct in Public Office.
(8) 
Section 946-13, Private Interest in Public Contract Prohibited.
(9) 
Any provision of Chapter 17 of the Wisconsin Statutes justifying removal of an official or employee for cause.
B. 
Officials and employees shall comply with the provisions of these enumerated sections of the Wisconsin Statutes, and failure to so comply shall constitute a breach of this Code of Ethics.
C. 
Attorneys and other professionals employed by the Town of Addison are required to comply with all aspects of the Wisconsin State Bar Code of Ethics or other similar code of professional conduct.
A. 
Any Town public official or employee who, in the discharge of his or her official duties, is involved or is about to be involved in any matter that could result in a material conflict of interest on his or her part shall:
(1) 
Prepare a written statement describing such matter and the nature of the possible conflict of interest; and
(2) 
Deliver copies of the statement to his or her immediate supervisor or the Town Board Chairperson; and
(3) 
Take no further action in regard to such matter except as hereinafter set forth.
B. 
If the Town public official or employee is not a department head, such person's supervisor shall assign the matter to another employee, who does not have a possible conflict of interest, or contract with outside sources to complete the matter. If the official or employee is a department head, he or she shall be guided by written advice from the Town Attorney in regard to the matter. The Town Attorney shall promptly review the written statement submitted by such official or employee who has no immediate superior, and on the basis thereof and such further investigation of the matter as he deems advisable, he shall as promptly as practicable advise such person in writing as to the course of action he or she should follow in regard to the matter. The provisions of this code concerning advisory opinions of the Town Attorney apply to advice given under this subsection.
C. 
A material conflict of interest on the part of a Town public official or employee is deemed to exist within the meaning of this section in regard to a matter in which he or she is involved, or is about to be involved in the discharge of his or her official duties, whenever:
(1) 
The official's or employee's action or failure to act could reasonably be expected to produce or assist in producing a substantial benefit, directly or indirectly, for such official or his or her immediate family or an organization with which he or she is associated; or
(2) 
The matter in question gives rise to a division of loyalties owed to the Town of Addison and another party or an unfair bargaining advantage or leverage affecting disbursements of money or creation or repeal of policies to the possible detriment of the Town of Addison.
A. 
Fees and honorarium.
(1) 
In order to achieve the broadest possible public discussion and understanding of Town government, the legislative process and the specific policy issues and proposals pending before the Town of Addison, every Town public official and employee is encouraged to meet with clubs, conventions, special interest groups, political groups, school groups and other gatherings to discuss and to interpret these topics.
(2) 
Except as may be otherwise provided by law, reasonable compensation for any such activity or for any published work and reimbursement of actual and necessary expenses incurred in connection therewith may be accepted by a Town public official or employee, but if such activity or published work is accomplished by an official or employee with the use of the Town time or of its facilities, services or supplies not generally available to all citizens of this Town in the course of his or her official duties, the official or employee may not retain such compensation or reimbursement of expenses but shall deposit it with the Town Treasurer.
B. 
Reimbursements. Nothing in this section prevents or limits reimbursement by the Town of actual and reasonable expenses incurred by a Town public official or employee in the performance of official duties.
Any employee or official found by the Town Board to have violated any provision of this code shall be entitled to a due process hearing substantially in compliance with the procedures set forth in Subchapter III of Chapter 19 of the Wisconsin Statutes or as it may hereinafter be amended. The hearing shall be before the Administrative Committee servicing as the Ethics Board. Any employee or official found to have violated this code shall be subject to discipline, including, but not limited, to termination of employment. Any action taken by an employee in violation of the Town board's ethics policy may be deemed void. Any alleged violation of this code by a member of the Town Board shall be referred by the Town Clerk to the Board of Ethics.
In this code, except as hereinafter set forth, the definitions set forth in § 19.42, Wis. Stats., shall apply:
FINANCIAL INTEREST
Any interest that will 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 official or employees or any member of the immediate family of said official or employee, except as permitted by § 946.13, Wis. Stats.
OFFICIAL or TOWN PUBLIC OFFICIAL
Any person holding an appointed Town office, and includes all Town department heads, including elected officials and members of the Town Board.
PERSON
Any natural person, corporation, partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, organization, trust or other legal entity recognized as such by the laws of the State of Wisconsin.
PERSONAL INTEREST
Any interest arising from a blood or marriage relationship.
PRIVILEGED INFORMATION or CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
Written or oral material related to Town government which has not become a part of the body of public information and which is designated by statute, court decision, lawful orders or custom as being either privileged or confidential.