[Adopted by the Clarkson Town Board 11-27-2007 by L.L. No. 5-2007. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Defense of town officers and employees — See Ch. 11.
This local law also superseded former Ch. 14, Ethics, Code of, adopted 12-10-1970.
The Town Board of the Town of Clarkson recognizes that there are state statutory provisions mandating towns to establish rules and standards of ethical conduct for public officers and employees which, if observed, can enhance public confidence in local government. In the light of a tendency today on the part of some people to downgrade our local governments and to discredit our public servants and our free institutions generally, it appears necessary that every effort be made to assure the highest caliber of public administration of this Town as part of our state's important system of local government. It is the purpose of this Code of Ethics to implement this objective through the establishment of standards of conduct and to provide for punishment of violation of such standards, as provided for herein.
There may be instances when a policy or regulation appears difficult to interpret or to apply. In those cases, clarification should be sought through the normal supervisory channels. If necessary, further questions should be directed to the Town Board which has responsibility for the oversight of the policy.
The standards, prohibited acts and procedures established herein are in addition to any prohibited acts, conflict of interest provisions or procedures prescribed by statute of the State of New York and also in addition to common law rules and judicial decisions relating to the conduct of town officers, to the extent that the same are more severe in their application than this Code.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A pecuniary or material benefit accruing to a municipal employee, unless the context otherwise requires.
- Any board, commission, district, council or other agency, department or unit of the government of the Town of Clarkson.
- TOWN EMPLOYEE
- Any officer or employee of the Town of Clarkson, whether paid or unpaid, whether serving in a full-time, part-time or advisory capacity.
No Town employee shall have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage in any business or transaction or professional activity or incur any obligation of any nature which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his duties in the public interest. In addition, the Town recognizes the right of Town staff to engage in employment opportunities outside the Town. Outside employment must not conflict with the duties, responsibilities, and regular periods of work of the staff member at the Town. The Town relies on the judgment and integrity of the staff member to avoid conflicts with the staff member's commitment to the Town.
Employment at the Town is considered to be the primary appointment, and employment elsewhere should not interfere with this primary job commitment.
Staff who accept employment elsewhere, in addition to Town employment, must be aware of any Town requirement to work extra hours at scheduled or unscheduled times. The Town expects employees to meet these requirements in spite of other employment commitments.
Staff are encouraged to discuss outside employment opportunities with their supervisors. Specific Town approval of outside employment is not required unless the proposed outside employer engages in business transactions with the Town and the employee would be in a position to influence either employer in connection with those transactions. In such cases, written department head approval is required before the employee may accept the outside position.
Staff may use accrued vacation and holidays for outside employment if the time off is approved and does not interfere with the normal operations of the department.
Staff may not use Town facilities, staff or other resources in performing work for another employer. Employees shall not transmit to outsiders or otherwise use for personal gain Town-funded or supported property, work products, results, materials, records, or information developed with Town funding or other support. Use of Town resources, including facilities, personnel, equipment, or confidential information, except in a purely incidental way, for any purposes other than the performance of the individual's Town employment is prohibited. The Town name, logo or letterhead must be used in connection with Town business only and not for any personal communication or purpose.
An officer or employee is subject to, and must abide by, the following standards of conduct:
No Town employee shall accept other employment which will impair his independence of judgment in the exercise of the employee's official duties.
No Town employee shall accept employment or engage in any business or professional activity which requires the employee to disclose confidential information which the employee has gained by reason of the employee's official position or authority.
No Town employee shall use or attempt to use the employee's official position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for the employee or others.
No Town employee shall engage in any transaction as a representative or agent of the Town with any business activity which the employee has direct or indirect financial interest that might reasonably tend to conflict with the proper discharge of the employee's official duties.
A Town employee shall not, by the employee's conduct, give reasonable basis for the impression that any person can improperly influence the employee or duly enjoy the employee's favor in the performance of the employee's official duties or that the employee is affected by the kinship, rank, position or influence of any party or person.
Each Town employee shall abstain from making personal investments in enterprises which the employee has reason to believe may be directly involved in decisions to be made by the employee or which will otherwise create substantial conflict between the employee's duty in the public interest and the employee's private interest.
Each Town employee shall endeavor to pursue a course of conduct which will not raise suspicion among the public that the employee is likely to be engaged in acts that are in violation of the employee's trust.
No Town employee, employed on a full-time basis, or any firm or association of which such employee is a member, or corporation, a substantial portion of the stock of which is owned or controlled directly or indirectly by such employee, shall sell goods or services to any person, firm, corporation or association which is licensed or whose rates are fixed by the Town in which such employee serves or is employed.
No Town employee shall accept any gift over the value of $50 in any form as to raise questions of undue influence in official duties.
In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law, any such Town employee who shall knowingly and intentionally violate any of the provisions herein may be fined, suspended or removed from office or employment in the manner provided by law.
Duty to report. To maintain the highest standards of business conduct, the Town depends on each individual to report potential or perceived conflicts of interest involving themselves or others (discussed below) and suspected violations of applicable laws, regulations, government contract and grant requirements, or of this Code (together referred to as "violations"). Failure to report known or suspected violations is itself a breach of Town ethical standards and can lead to discipline, up to and including separation from the Town.
Reporting procedures. Employees should understand that the Town encourages reporting of violations and makes available a wide variety of ways that it can be done. Personnel are encouraged to report violations to their immediate supervisor, but may also report to the Town Board.
Confidentiality. Reports of suspected violations may be made confidentially, and even anonymously, although the more information given, the easier it is to investigate the reports. The Town will take all appropriate steps to ensure the level of confidentiality desired, but sometimes the Town's legal obligations to investigate or address a violation will override the individual's wish for confidentiality. It is against Town policy, and in many cases illegal, to retaliate against a person (e.g. by terminating a job) who reports a violation of law, regulation or grant or contract requirement.
Cooperation. All employees must cooperate fully in the investigation of any misconduct.