Town of Bar Harbor, ME
Hancock County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The purpose of this Code of Ethics is to establish ethical standards of conduct for all agency members by setting forth those acts or actions deemed to be in conflict or incompatible, or to create the appearance of conflict or incompatibility, with the best interests of the Town of Bar Harbor.
There are certain provisions of the general statutes of the State of Maine which, while not set forth herein, should be considered an integral part of this Code of Ethics. Accordingly, the provisions of the following sections of the general statutes of the State of Maine, as may be amended, are hereby incorporated by reference and made a part of this Code of Ethics and shall apply to all members whenever applicable as if more fully set forth herein. where a standard set forth in state law conflicts with this chapter, the stricter standard shall apply.
A. 
17 M.R.S.A. § 3104, Conflicts of interest; purchases by the state.
B. 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 456, Tampering with public records or information.
C. 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 602, Bribery in official and political matters.
D. 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 603, Improper influence.
E. 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 604, Improper compensation for past action.
F. 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 605, Improper gifts to public servants.
G. 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 606, Improper compensation for services.
H. 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 607, Purchase of public office.
I. 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 608, Official oppression.
J. 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 609, Misuse of information.
K. 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 903, Misuse of entrusted property.
L. 
21-A M.R.S.A. § 504, Persons ineligible to serve.
M. 
30-A M.R.S.A. § 2605, Conflicts of interest.
N. 
30-A M.R.S.A. § 5122, Interest of public officials, trustees or employees.
A. 
Purchasing. Except as permitted under the laws of the State of Maine, no member shall award any contracts with the Town or recommend, approve, or disapprove the purchase of goods or services for the Town where to their knowledge there is a financial interest or special interest in such purchase or award held by:
(1) 
That individual or a member of his/her immediate family;
(2) 
A business in which that individual or a member of his/her immediate family serves as an officer, director, trustee, partner or employee in a supervisory or management position; or
(3) 
Any other person or business with whom or with which that individual or a member of his/her immediate family is in business or is negotiating or has an arrangement concerning future employment.
B. 
Hiring. No member shall participate, by means of deliberation, approval, disapproval or recommendation, in the decision to hire, promote, discipline, lay off or to take any other personnel action in respect to any employee or applicant for Town employment where said employee or applicant is:
(1) 
A member of the agency member's immediate family; or
(2) 
A person with whom either the agency member or a member of his/her immediate family is in business.
No member shall, without proper legal authorization, disclose confidential information concerning the property, employees, government or affairs of the Town, nor shall he/she use such information to advance his/her financial or private interest or the financial or private interest of others. Information received and discussed during an executive session of any Town agency called pursuant to 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 et seq. (the Freedom of Access Law) shall be considered within the constraints of this section and shall not be disclosed to any third party unless permitted by affirmative vote of such body.
A. 
No member shall accept any gift, favor or item with a value in excess of $100 annually, whether in the form of service, loan, thing or promise, from any person or business which to his/her knowledge is interested directly or indirectly in any manner whatsoever in business dealings with the Town, nor shall any member:
[Amended 9-2-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-02]
(1) 
Accept any gift, favor or thing of value that tends to influence that individual in the discharge of his/her official duties; or
(2) 
Grant in the discharge of his/her official duties any improper favor, service or thing of value.
B. 
Nothing herein shall prohibit the acceptance of gifts or favors by agency members from members of their immediate families.
C. 
In determining whether a violation of this section has occurred, the Ethics Commission shall consider:
(1) 
The monetary or pecuniary value of the gift, favor or thing received;
(2) 
Any special economic value the gift, favor or thing received may have to the recipient; and
(3) 
The circumstances under which the gift, favor or thing concerned was received.
No member shall use or permit the use of any Town-owned property, including but not limited to motor vehicles, equipment and buildings, for any private purposes, except in compliance with the following:
A. 
Nothing herein shall prohibit use of Town-owned property at rates and/or on terms as may be established.
B. 
Nothing herein shall prohibit private use of surplus Town property legally disposed in compliance with the Town Council's Surplus Property Policy.
A. 
Solicitation. Without the prior approval of the Town Council (for municipal matters) or the Superintending School Committee (for school matters), no member shall solicit donations of money, services, property or items of value from any individual or business for the benefit of the Town of Bar Harbor or for the support of any Town program or activity. No individual member may directly receive or accept any such donation, whether or not solicited by the member concerned. This subsection does not prohibit the following:
(1) 
Solicitations of individuals related to the member concerned by blood, marriage or adoption;
(2) 
Solicitations of businesses in which the member holds an equity interest as proprietor, partner or shareholder;
(3) 
Solicitations of general statements of support for particular fund-raising efforts, provided that the statements of support are directed at the public at large and not at any particular individual or business.
B. 
Accounting. All funds, property and items of value received as a result of solicitations authorized by this section shall be processed and deposited in the manner prescribed by the Town Finance Director (for municipal matters) or the Superintending School Committee (for school matters).
A. 
Definition of "appear." For the purposes of this section:
(1) 
"Appear" shall mean to present oneself physically before a Town agency or to personally submit materials advocating or opposing any agency business.
(2) 
"Appear" shall not mean assisting in the preparation of application materials.
B. 
Meetings. On behalf of any third-party interest, no member shall appear before a Town agency of which he/she is a member or meet with Town employees responsible for assisting said agency.
C. 
Litigation. On behalf of any third-party interest, no member shall appear in any action, proceeding or litigation in which the member's agency or one of its subsidiary agencies is a party, nor meet with Town employees in regard thereto.
D. 
Personal interest. Nothing in this section shall prohibit any member, on behalf of his/her personal interest, from appearing before any Town agency, but such member shall leave his/her seat at the table and shall not deliberate or vote on the item concerned. For purposes of this section, "personal interest" shall include any interest of the member concerned as a resident, landowner or taxpayer personally affected by the matter under consideration to an extent greater than Bar Harbor residents generally.
[Amended 9-2-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-02]
A. 
Deliberation and vote prohibited. No member shall, in their capacity as a member of their agency, vote, participate in the deliberation, or otherwise take part in the decision making process on any agenda item in which they or a member of their immediate family has a financial or special interest as defined by this chapter. In the absence of a financial or special interest, members shall attempt to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest by disclosure, as provided below.
B. 
Disclosure of conflict. Any member who believes that he or she has a financial or special interest, or the appearance of a conflict of interest, in any agenda item before their agency shall disclose the nature and extent of such interest, and the secretary shall make a record of such disclosure in the minutes. In cases where a member's ability to disclose the nature and extent of such interest is limited by the confidentiality requirements of State or federal law, the member may refrain from disclosing the details of the interest to the extent necessary to comply with such confidentiality requirements. The disclosure required by this paragraph shall be made at the first meeting of the agency or subcommittee thereof at which the agenda item concerned is to be taken up for discussion or vote and at which the member is present. Additionally, anyone else who believes that a member has a financial or special interest in any agenda item before an agency may disclose the nature and extent of such interest, and the secretary shall make a record of such disclosure in the minutes.
C. 
Determination of conflict. Once the issue of conflict has been raised relative to an individual member and disclosure has been made as provided above, such individual's fellow members shall review the facts as disclosed to them and shall vote on whether or not such individual has a financial or special interest, or the appearance of a conflict of interest, with respect to the agenda item concerned. All conflict of interest questions relating to a particular agenda item shall be resolved prior to any consideration of the item concerned, and each member present, except the individual member who is alleged to have a conflict of interest, shall vote on all conflict of interest questions.
(1) 
All votes of conflict of interest questions shall be recorded. A majority of those present and voting shall determine the question.
(2) 
Upon determination that a conflict of interest exists, the member concerned shall be excused from participating as a member in discussion, deliberation or vote on the relevant agenda item at that meeting and at all future meetings, unless the conflict is resolved.
[Amended 5-19-2020 by Ord. No. 2020-03]
(3) 
In the event that a majority of the agency, or subcommittee thereof, shall require disclosure of further information not immediately available or shall require confirmation of the information disclosed, consideration of the relevant agenda item shall be postponed to an appropriate time.
(4) 
As provided by the Maine Freedom of Access Act, an agency may enter executive session to discuss a potential conflict of interest, but only upon a motion "to go into executive session as permitted by 1 M.R.S.A. § 405.6.A for discussion or consideration of a potential conflict of interest, since open discussion could reasonably be expected to cause damage to the reputation of the individual or infringe on the individual's right to privacy."
[Amended 5-19-2020 by Ord. No. 2020-03]
D. 
Influence prohibited. Once a member is determined to have a conflict of interest in respect to any agenda item and once all conflict of interest questions relating to the agenda item concerned have been determined as provided above, said individual shall immediately leave his/her seat at the table and shall not vote, participate in the deliberation, or otherwise take part in the decision-making process. Recused members shall not return to their regular seat until deliberation and action on the item is completed.
[Amended 5-19-2020 by Ord. No. 2020-03]
E. 
Personal interest. Nothing in this section shall prohibit any member, on behalf of his/her personal interest, from appearing before any Town agency, but such member shall leave his/her seat at the table and shall not deliberate or vote on the item concerned. For purposes of this section, "personal interest" shall include any interest of the member concerned as a resident, landowner or taxpayer personally affected by the matter under consideration to an extent greater than Bar Harbor residents generally.
F. 
Consent agendas. Nothing herein shall require an individual member to recuse himself or herself for any item contained on a "consent agenda" on which:
(1) 
There is no deliberation;
(2) 
The individual's conflict has been determined by the other members; and
(3) 
The right to abstain from voting on the item has been granted.
A. 
No member shall participate in any political activity which would be in conflict or incompatible with the performance of his/her official functions and duties for the Town. In conjunction therewith, no member may use his/her official authority or position for the purposes of influencing or interfering with or affecting the results of any election.
B. 
No member or candidate for membership shall solicit funds or contributions or accept or receive funds or contributions from employees for political purposes.
C. 
No member or candidate for membership shall solicit a person whom he/she knows to be a Town employee to sign a petition for election to a Town office.
D. 
No member shall distribute pamphlets or other election materials promoting a candidate, party or cause, while he/she is performing official functions or duties with the Town.
E. 
Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit any member from participating in the political process in his/her private capacity as candidates for elected office or as private citizens, nor prohibit the member from promoting causes officially endorsed by a recorded vote of the Council.
F. 
Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit agencies or their members from discussing local, state or national issues that may affect the Town of Bar Harbor, but only the Town Council, Superintending School Committee and Warrant Committee may advocate a position on behalf of the Town.
No member shall occupy any other office, elected or appointed, in any other governmental entity when the duties of such office are incompatible with the proper discharge of his/her official duties with the Town. For purposes of this Code of Ethics, the occupancy of any office, elected or appointed, with any other governmental entity by any member is hereby prohibited in the following circumstances:
A. 
Where the duties of the other office make it a physical impossibility to discharge the duties of the Town position;
B. 
Where one office is subordinate to the other;
C. 
Where one office carries the power of removal over the other; or
D. 
Where the occupancy of both offices is prohibited by the Town Charter or by other provisions of law.
[Amended 9-2-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-02]
A. 
Every member shall participate in Ethics Ordinance training, as prescribed by the Town Council, within six months of appointment and every three years thereafter.
B. 
The Town Clerk shall furnish each new member with a copy of the Code of Ethics before the member begins the duties of the member's office.
C. 
A signed receipt for all copies shall be returned to the Town Clerk, who shall retain the receipt on file.