[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Hempstead 7-8-1970 by resolution; amended in its entirety 9-22-2010 by L.L. No. 22-2010. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Pursuant to the provisions of § 806 of the General Municipal Law, the Board of Trustees of the incorporated Village of Hempstead, Nassau County, 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 incorporated Village of Hempstead, Nassau County, New York. These rules shall serve as a guide for official conduct of the officers and employees of the incorporated Village of Hempstead, Nassau County, 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 interest in contracts of municipal officers and employees.
The proper operation of the incorporated Village of Hempstead's government requires that its officers and employees be independent, impartial and responsible to the people; that government decisions and policy be made in the proper channels of the governmental structure; that public office not be used for personal gain, that public officers and employees observe in their official acts the highest standards of ethics and discharge faithfully the duties of their public office regardless of personal consideration, and that the public have confidence in the integrity of its government and the officers and employees thereof.
It is the policy of the Village to establish standards and guidelines for ethical conduct of officers and employees. Though assurance of such conduct will continue to rest primarily on personal integrity and community vigilance, the establishment of standards is another step toward providing the highest caliber of public administration for the Village and ensuring that government decisions are arrived at impartially and free of conflict of interests and thereby increasing confidence in public officials.
In recognition of these goals, there is hereby established a Code of Ethics for all officers and for all employees of the incorporated Village of Hempstead, hereinafter referred to as the "Village." In the event of any conflict between the provisions of this code and provisions of Article 18 of the General Municipal Law, the latter shall control.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
- Any information which by law or practice is not available to the public.
- CONFLICT OF INTEREST
- When a Village official or employee uses his official office or position of employment for the purpose of obtaining a pecuniary and/or other benefit for himself/herself to the detriment of the interests of the Village government and/or impairs the proper discharge of official duties or employment.
- Any claim, account or demand against or agreement with the Village, express or implied.
- A. A participation, connection or involvement of any sort, whether direct or indirect, pecuniary or nonpecuniary which may result in a benefit. For the purposes of this chapter, the interests of a Village official or employee shall be deemed to include the interests of:
- (1) His/her spouse or children.
- (2) Any person, other than a bank, trust company or other lending institution, with whom he has a substantial debtor-creditor or other financial relationship.
- (3) A firm, partnership or association of which such officer or employee is a member or employee.
- (4) Any person of which the stock or other legal or beneficial ownership is owned by him/her.
- (5) A corporation of which such officer or employee is an officer director or employee.
- B. For the purpose of this chapter, an officer or employee shall also be deemed to have an interest in a matter if he or any person described in Subsection A(1) through (5) above is a party to an agreement, expressed or implied, with any applicant before any board of the Village, whereby he may receive any payment or other benefit, whether or not for services rendered, dependent or contingent upon the favorable approval of any such application, petition or request by any Village body.
- OFFICIAL ACT OR ACTION
- Any legislative, administrative, quasi-judicial, appointive or discretionary act of a Village official or employee or a Village body.
- Any individual, business proprietorship, corporation, partnership, association, venture, individual in representative or fiduciary capacity, estate, trust or other entity.
- An individual's spouse, child, stepchild, stepparent, or
any person who is a direct descendant of the grandparents of the reporting
individual or of the reporting individual's spouse.[Added 1-7-2014 by L.L. No. 1-2014]
- Any activity, application or proceeding which requires or may require an official act or action of a Village officer or employee or a Village body.
- The incorporated Village of Hempstead.
- VILLAGE BODY
- The incorporated Village of Hempstead or any board, commission, committee, district, council or other agency, department or unit thereof.
- VILLAGE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE
- Any officer or employee of the Village, whether full- or part-time or whether or not compensated for his or her services, including members of any Village body. No person shall be deemed to be an "officer or employee" solely by reason of being a volunteer fireman or civil defense volunteer.
Every officer or employee of the Incorporated Village of Hempstead, Nassau County, New York, shall be subject to and abide by the following standards of conduct:
Gifts. No officer or employee of the Village shall accept, solicit or receive any gift having a value of $75.00 or more, whether in the form of money, services, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, thing or promise or any other form, from any person, firm or corporation which is interested directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever, in business dealings with the Village or under circumstances in which it could reasonably be inferred that the gift was intended to influence him or could reasonably be expected to influence him in the performance of his official duties or was intended as a reward for any official action on his part. No officer or employee of the Village shall grant in the discharge of his duties any improper favor, service or thing of value. Nothing contained herein shall be deemed to prohibit any officer or employee of the Village from borrowing money from any bank or banks designated as depositories, agent, registration agent, or investment of funds of a municipality, except when the Chief Fiscal Officer, Treasurer or his/her deputy or employee has an interest in such bank or trust company; provided, however, that the designation of a bank or trust within the municipality may nevertheless be designated by the Village Board. The limit of $75 applies to an aggregate total of gifts made over a period of 12 months.
[Amended 1-7-2014 by L.L. No. 1-2014]
Confidential information. No municipal officer or employee shall disclose confidential information acquired by him/her in the course of his/her official duties or use such information to further his/her personal interest. Further, no officer or employee of the Village shall:
Accept employment or engage in any business in any professional activity which will require him/her to disclose confidential information which he has gained by reason of his /her official position or authority.
Disclose any confidential information or use confidential information to further his personal interests or the personal interests of others.
Take official action upon any questions in which he or any member of his immediate family had an interest.
Representation before the Village. No Village officer or employee shall receive or enter into any agreement, express or implied, for compensation for services to be rendered in relation to any matter before any Village agency of which he is an officer, member or employee or before any Village agency over which he has jurisdiction or to which he has the power to appoint any member, officer or employee.
Representation before the Village for a contingent fee. No Village officer or employee shall receive or enter into any agreement, express or implied, for compensation for services to be rendered in relation to any matter before any Village agency whereby his/her 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 interests.
[Amended 1-7-2014 by L.L. No. 1-2014]
Except as otherwise provided by law, no Village officer or employee shall have an interest in any contract, purchase agreement, lease agreement or other agreement, including oral agreements, with the Village, when such officer or employee, individually or as a member of a board, has the power or duty to either:
Negotiate, prepare, authorize or approve the contract, purchase agreement, lease agreement or other agreement, or authorize or approve payment thereunder;
Audit bills or claims under the contract, purchase agreement, lease agreement or other agreement; or
Any municipal officer or employee who has, or later acquires, an interest in or whose relative has, will have, or later acquires an interest in any actual or proposed contract, purchase agreement, lease agreement or other agreement, including oral agreements, with the Village shall publicly disclose the nature and extent of such interest in writing to his or her immediate supervisor and to the governing body thereof as soon as he or she has knowledge of such actual or prospective interest. Such written disclosure shall be made part of and set forth in the official record of the proceedings of such body.
Business transactions and disclosures. No officer or employee of the Village shall have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage in any business or transaction, professional activity or legislation or incur any obligation of any nature, which is in conflict with, or might reasonably tend to conflict with, the proper discharge of his/her duties in the public interest. Any officer or employee who has a direct or indirect financial or other private interest in any matter before any board of the Village shall publicly disclose in writing on the official record of such board the nature and extent of such interest prior to participating in the discussion or before making a recommendation or giving an opinion to such board on such matter.
Private employment. No officer or employee of the Village shall 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/her official duties .
Familial interests. No officer or employee of the Village shall take official action upon any questions in which he or any of his relatives has an interest.
[Amended 1-7-2014 by L.L. No. 1-2014]
Representation of private interests. No officer or employee or the Village shall represent private interests before any board, department, office or agency of the Village, nor represent private interests in any action or proceeding against the interests of the Village or in any litigation to which the Village is a party. The preceding sentence shall not preclude any such officers or employees from appearing in the performance of public or civic obligations or on their own behalf with respect to matters of a personal nature. All appearing parties before any board of the Village shall make a disclosure as provided under § 809 of Article 18 of the General Municipal Law. Every application, petition or request submitted for a variance, amendment, change of zoning, approval of a plat, exemption from a plat or official map, license or permit pursuant to the provisions of any ordinance, local law, rule or regulation constituting the zoning and planning regulations of the Village in which a Village officer or employee has an interest as defined in this chapter shall state the name, residence and the nature and extent of the interest of any officer or employee of the Village, in the person, partnership or association making such application, petition or request to the extent known to such applicant.
No officer or employee of the Village shall, after the termination of service or employment with the incorporated Village of Hempstead, appear before any board or agency of the incorporated Village of Hempstead, Nassau County, New York, in relation to any case, proceeding or application in which he personally participated during the period of his/her service or employment or which was under his/her active consideration.
No Village officer or employee shall, within two years after the separation from his or her employment, appear before any board, agency or commission of the Village or conduct any official Village business, transactions or professional activity with any Village officer or board member, Village employee or Village consultant where special advantages by virtue of prior contact and relationship with the Village may be realized.
No Village officer or employee shall, within a period of two years after the termination of service or employment with the Village, appear or practice before any board, agency or commission of the Village or receive compensation for any services rendered by such former officer or employee on behalf of any person, firm, corporation or association in relation to any case, proceeding or application or other matter before such board, agency or commission of the Village.
[Added 1-7-2014 by L.L. No. 1-2014]
Misuse of privilege. No officer or employee of the Village shall use or attempt to use his/her official position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for himself/herself or others or grant any special consideration, treatment or advantage to any citizens beyond that which is available to every other citizen.
Attempts of undue influence. No officer or employee of the Village shall, by his conduct, give reasonable basis for the impression that any person can unduly influence him or improperly enjoy his favor in the performance of his official duties or that he is affected by the kinship, rank, position or influence of any party or person. No officer or employee of the Village shall induce, threaten or coerce or aid another officer or employee of the Village to violate any of the provisions of this Code of Ethics.
Use of employees for outside work. No officer or employee of the Village shall direct or cause any officer or employee of the Village to do or perform any service or work outside of public work or employment, or accept any such service or work, nor shall any officer or employee of the Village offer to or perform any such service or work for such officer or employee.
Use of Village property. No officer or employee of the Village shall request or permit the use of Village-owned vehicles, equipment, materials or property for personal convenience or profit. Only when such vehicles, equipment, materials or property are provided as Village policy and by order of the Village administration for the use of such officer or employee may they be used and then only in the conduct of official business.
Solicitation of contributions. No Village officer or employee or consultant shall, directly or indirectly, solicit any gift, contribution or donation from any subordinate employee or trustee.
Village Attorney. The Village Attorney or Village Counsel shall accept no employment from any person, firm, partnership, corporation, municipality or other entity which will create a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest with the interests of the Village.
Personal investments. An officer or employee of the Village should abstain from making personal investments in an enterprise which he/she has reason to believe may be directly involved in decisions to be made by him/her in his/her capacity as a Village officer or employee or which will otherwise create substantial conflict between his/her duty in the public interest and his/her private interest.
Course of conduct. An officer or employee of the Village should endeavor to pursue a course of conduct which will not raise suspicion among the public that he/she is likely to be engaged in acts that are in violation of his/her trust.
Subsections A through R. Subsections A through R hereinabove are a comprehensive, but not necessarily exclusive, list of provisions regarding ethical behavior of Village officers and employees. Village officers and employees should seek the assistance of the Village Attorney when in doubt regarding any particular behavior or issue.
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 incorporated Village of Hempstead, Nassau County, New York, or any agency thereof on behalf of himself/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.
[Amended 1-7-2014 by L.L. No. 1-2014]
The Mayor of the Incorporated Village of Hempstead, Nassau County, New York, shall cause a copy of this Code of Ethics to be distributed to every officer and employee of the Incorporated Village of Hempstead within 30 days after the effective date of this chapter. Every officer or employee shall sign a written receipt indicating receipt of said documents. Said original receipts shall be filed in the Village Clerk's office, and a photocopy shall be filed in the officer's or employee's personnel folder and with the Village Board of Trustees. Failure to distribute any such copy or failure of any officer or employee to receive such copy shall have no effect on the duty of compliance with such Code nor the enforcements of provisions thereof.
[Amended 1-7-2014 by L.L. No. 1-2014]
The Village Clerk is authorized to receive and maintain a log of all complaints made against individuals subject to this chapter. Each complaint shall be submitted to the Village Attorney for investigation. Upon a review of the evidence, the Village Attorney shall prepare a written report for the Board of Trustees. If the Village Attorney determines that the complaint is not sustained, he or she shall so state in the recommendation. If he or she determines that the complaint is sustained, the report shall include recommendations for such administrative or legal action as deemed appropriate. The Board shall then review the report and recommendations of the Village Attorney and, by majority, determine what action, if any, is to be taken in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. If it is a member of the Board of Trustees who is accused, that member shall not participate in the vote. In the event no violation is found, the Village Attorney's log and complaint files shall not be open for public inspection, unless requested by the individual who was the subject of the complaint. However, the person making the complaint shall be notified in writing of the decision of the Board of Trustees. To the extent that it is practical to do so, an elected official should use his/her best efforts to notify, in writing, any other elected Village official of his/her intent to file an ethics complaint with the Village Clerk about such other elected Village official prior to filing such a complaint.
In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law, any person who shall knowingly and intentionally violate any of the provisions of this chapter may be fined, suspended or removed from office or employment, as the case may be, in the manner provided by law.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section or other part of this chapter shall for any reason be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be unconstitutional or otherwise invalidated, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder of this chapter, and it shall be construed to have been the legislative intent to enact this chapter without such unconstitutional or invalid parts therein.
This chapter shall take effect immediately upon filing in the Office of the Secretary of State of the State of New York.