Village of Flower Hill, NY
Nassau County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Flower Hill 2-4-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 18, Ethics, Code of, adopted 1-6-1976 as Art. I of Ch. 20 of the 1976 Code, as amended.

§ 18-1 Statutory authority; purpose.

Pursuant to the provisions of § 806 of the General Municipal Law, the Board of Trustees of the Village of Flower Hill recognizes that there are rules of 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 Flower Hill. The rules of ethical conduct of this chapter, as adopted, shall not conflict with, but shall be in addition to the standards prescribed in 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.

§ 18-2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
EMPLOYEE
Any person that receives a salary or wage from the Village of Flower Hill.
FAMILY MEMBER
A spouse, parent, stepparent, sibling, stepsibling, child, stepchild, grandparent, household member, or domestic partner of a Village officer or employee, and individuals having any of these relationships to the spouse of the officer or employee.
INTEREST
A direct or indirect monetary, financial or material benefit, but does not include any benefit arising from the provision or receipt of any service generally available to the residents or taxpayers of the Village, or a lawful class of such residents or taxpayers. A Village officer or employee is deemed to have an interest in any matter involving:
A. 
Any firm, partnership, or association of which he or she, his or her spouse, or a member of his or her household, is an owning partner, member, member of a Board of Trustees, director, officer or employee.
B. 
Any corporation of which any such person is a director, officer or employee or directly or indirectly owns or controls more than 5% of the corporation's outstanding stock.
OFFICER
A person serving as a paid or unpaid official of the Village of Flower Hill including, but not limited to, elected officers, members of the Village's governing board, any of its administrative boards (e.g., Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals), commissions, committees, agencies, department heads and others who work in a similar, like capacity.

§ 18-3 Treatment of public.

An officer or employee of the Village shall treat all members of the public, whether a person, firm or corporation or other organization, with respect and in a professional manner, with equal consideration and without special advantage in carrying out his or her official duties.

§ 18-4 Acting in public interest; appearance of impropriety.

No Village officer or employee shall exercise or perform his or her official powers and duties on the basis of family or private business, nor create an appearance of impropriety by giving the impression that he or she will exercise or perform his or her official powers or duties on the basis of any consideration other than the best interests of the Village.

§ 18-5 Representation of private interests.

No official, officer or employee of the Village shall represent private interests before any department, board, office or agency of the Village nor represent private interests in any action or proceeding against the interests of the Village in any litigation to which the Village is a party.

§ 18-6 Prohibition on use of municipal position for personal or private gain.

No Village officer or employee shall use his or her Village position or official powers to secure a financial or material benefit for himself or herself, a family member or any private organization in which he or she is deemed to have an interest.

§ 18-7 Disclosure of interest in legislation and other matters.

A. 
Whenever a matter requiring the exercise of discretion comes before a Village officer or employee, either individually or as a member of a board, and disposition of the matter could result in a direct or indirect financial or material benefit to himself or herself, a family member of any private organization in which he or she is deemed to have an interest, the Village officer or employee shall disclose the nature of the interest.
B. 
The disclosure shall be made when the matter requiring disclosure first comes before the Village officer or employee or when the municipal officer or employee first acquires knowledge of the interest requiring disclosure, whichever is earlier.
C. 
In the case of a person serving in an elective office, the disclosure shall be filed with the Board of Trustees of the Village. In all other cases the disclosure shall be filed with the person's supervisor, or if the person does not have a supervisor, the disclosure shall be filed with the Village officer, employee or board having the power to appoint the person's position. In the case of a person serving on a Village board, the disclosure shall be made to the board. Any disclosure made to a board shall be made publicly at a meeting of the board and must be included in the minutes of the meeting.

§ 18-8 Holding of investments in conflict with official duties.

A. 
No Village officer or employee may have or acquire the following investments:
(1) 
Personal investments that will be directly affected by the exercise or performance of the person's official powers and duties; or
(2) 
Personal investments that would otherwise impair a reasonable person's independence of judgment in the exercise or performance of his or her official powers and duties.
B. 
This section does not prohibit a Village officer or employee from acquiring any of the following assets:
(1) 
Real property located within the Village;
(2) 
The stock of a publicly traded corporation; or
(3) 
Bonds or notes issued by the Village and acquired more than one year after the date on which the bonds or notes were originally issued.

§ 18-9 Recusal and abstention.

A. 
No Village officer or employee may participate in any decision or take any official action with respect to any matter requiring the exercise of discretion including discussing the matter and voting on it, when he or she knows or has reason to know that the action could confer a direct or indirect financial or material benefit to himself or herself, a family member or any private organization in which he or she is deemed to have an interest.
B. 
Recusal and abstention shall not be required with respect to any matter:
(1) 
Which comes before a board when a majority of the board's total membership would otherwise be prohibited from acting by this code.
(2) 
Which comes before a Village officer when the officer would normally be prohibited from acting by this code but the matter cannot be lawfully delegated to another person.

§ 18-10 Private employment in conflict with official duties.

A. 
No Village officer or employee may accept employment or engage in any business or professional activity which:
(1) 
Impairs the person's reasonable independence of judgment in the exercise or performance of his or her official powers or duties;
(2) 
Is likely to require disclosure or use of confidential information gained by reason of serving as a Village officer or employee; or
(3) 
Requires representation of a person or organization other than the Village in connection with litigation, negotiations or any other matter to which the Village is a party.
B. 
No Village officer or employee may in a private capacity represent another person or organization before the Village, or any officer, administrative board, commission or other agency of the Village.
C. 
This section does not prohibit a Village officer or employee from:
(1) 
Representing himself or herself, or his spouse or minor children, before the Village, or any officer, administrative board, commission or other agency of the Village, including the Village Court, in connection with any personal matter that does not arise from or involve a business, commercial or professional activity;
(2) 
Asserting a claim against the Village on his or her own behalf, or on behalf of his or her spouse or minor children in connection with any personal matter that does not arise from or involve a business, commercial, or professional activity.

§ 18-11 Future employment.

A. 
For a period of 90 days after leaving Village service, a former officer or employee shall not communicate with the Village, except on his or her own behalf, and shall not accept anything of value to work on any particular matter that he or she personally and substantially worked on while in Village service.
B. 
This section does not prohibit a Village officer or employee from:
(1) 
Representing himself or herself, or his or her spouse or minor children, before the Village or any officer, administrative board or commission or any other agency of the Village in connection with any personal matter that does not arise from or involve a business, commercial or professional activity;
(2) 
Asserting a claim against the Village on his or her own behalf, or on behalf of his or her spouse or minor children in connection with any personal matter that does not arise from or involve a business, commercial or professional activity.
(3) 
This section shall not apply to representation or services before the Village Justice Court.

§ 18-12 Use of Village property.

No officer or employee of the Village may request or permit the use of Village-owned vehicles, equipment, materials, resources or property for a non-Village purpose, except when such use:
A. 
Is available to the public generally and on the same terms as a member of the public; or
B. 
Is provided for in a written Village policy or resolution for the use of the officer or employee in the conduct of official duties.

§ 18-13 Nepotism.

A. 
No Village officer or employee may participate in any decision pertaining to the appointment hiring, promotion, discipline or discharge of a family member from any position at, for or within the Village or an administrative board, commission or other agency of the Village.
B. 
No Village officer or employee may directly supervise, provide the day-to-day instructions to, or evaluate the performance of a family member in the performance of the family member's official powers or duties in the Village.

§ 18-14 Political solicitations and campaign activities.

A. 
No Village officer or employee shall directly or indirectly compel or induce a subordinate Village officer or employee to make, or promise to make, any political contribution, whether by gift of money, service or other thing of value.
B. 
No Village officer or employee may act or decline to act in relation to appointing, hiring, promoting, discharging or disciplining, or in any matter changing the official rank, status or compensation of, any Village officer or employee, or an applicant for a position as a Village officer or employee, on the basis of giving or withholding or neglecting to make any contribution of money or service or any other valuable thing for any political purpose.
C. 
No officer or employee of the Village shall engage in political campaign activities during his or her official Village workday nor use Village resources for any political campaign or activities.

§ 18-15 Confidential information.

No Village officer or employee or former Village officer or employee who acquires confidential information in the course of exercising or performing his or her official powers or duties may disclose or use such information unless the disclosure or use is required or allowed by law or in the course of exercising or performing his or her official powers and duties.

§ 18-16 Gifts.

A. 
Soliciting gifts. No Village officer or employee may directly or indirectly solicit any gift from any person, firm or organization in which the officer or employee knows or should know that the person, firm or organization has a matter pending before the Village or had a matter pending before the Village during the previous 12 months or is likely to have a matter pending before the Village during the following twelve-month period. This prohibition shall not apply to ministerial, nondiscretionary matters.
B. 
Per gift. No Village officer or employee may accept or receive any gift, or multiple gifts from the same donor within a continuous twelve-month period valued at $75 or more when:
(1) 
It appears that the gift is intended to influence the officer or employee in the exercise or performance of his or her official powers or duties;
(2) 
The gift could reasonably be expected to influence the officer or employee in the exercise of performance of his or her official duties; or
(3) 
The gift is intended as a reward for any official action on the part of the officer or employee.

§ 18-17 Village Attorney.

The Village Attorney 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.

§ 18-18 Posting and distribution of code.

A. 
The Mayor must promptly cause a copy of this code, and a copy of any amendment to this code, to be posted publicly and conspicuously in the Village Hall. The code must be posted within 10 days following the date on which the code takes effect. An amendment to the code must be posted within 10 days following the date on which the amendment takes effect.
B. 
The Mayor must promptly cause a copy of this code, including any amendments to the code to be distributed to every person who is or becomes an officer or employee of the Village.
C. 
Every municipal officer or employee who receives a copy of this code, or an amendment to the code, must acknowledge such receipt in writing within a reasonable period of time. Such acknowledgement must be filed with the Village Administrator who must maintain such acknowledgement as a public record.
D. 
The failure to post this code, or an amendment to the code, does not affect the applicability or enforceability of the code or the amendment. The failure of a Village officer or employee to receive a copy of the code, or an amendment to the code, or to acknowledge the receipt thereof in writing, does not affect either the applicability or enforceability of the code or amendment to the code.

§ 18-19 Board of Ethics.

A. 
Membership.
(1) 
The Board of Ethics shall consist of no less than three and no more than five members, the majority of whom shall not be Village Officers or employees, but at least one of whom must be a Village Officer or employee. All members shall be appointed by a super majority of the Board of Trustees and shall serve terms as set forth in Subsection A(2) below. Members may be removed prior to the conclusion of their term by the Board of Trustees in accord with Subsection D(5) below.
(2) 
The terms of office shall be staggered, with one member serving a one-year term, one member serving a two-year term, one member serving a three-year term, one member serving a four-year term and one member serving a five-year term.
B. 
Qualifications.
(1) 
All members of the Board of Ethics must be either residents or employees of the Village.
(2) 
The members of the Board of Ethics shall be qualified by temperament and experience to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the Board.
C. 
Compensation. Members of the Board of Ethics shall serve without compensation but may be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses as approved by the Board of Trustees.
D. 
Powers and duties.
(1) 
The Board of Ethics shall appoint a Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and a Secretary from its members, each for a one-year term. The Secretary shall be responsible for keeping the records of the Board.
(2) 
The Board of Ethics shall conduct investigations, hearings, recommend disciplinary action, initiate appropriate actions and issue advisory opinions.
(3) 
The Ethics Board may act only with respect to the officers and employees of the Village and persons having business dealings with the Village.
(4) 
The Ethics Board, in its discretion, may refer any matter to the appropriate public agency.
(5) 
A member of the Board of Ethics may be removed from office by a majority vote of the Board of Trustees for failure to fulfill the duties of office or for violations of this chapter.
(6) 
The Ethics Board must prepare a report of their actions and activities to be presented to the Board of Trustees for final determination as well as recommend changes to this Ethics Code.

§ 18-20 Complaints and investigations.

A. 
Upon receipt of a request for an investigation of an alleged violation of this chapter or upon the Board determining on its own initiative that a violation of this chapter may exist, the Ethics Board shall have the power and duty to conduct any such investigation necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter provided the complainant agrees to provide a duly sworn request for investigation. In conducting any such investigation, the Board may administer oaths or affirmations, subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance and require the production of records which it may deem relevant or material.
B. 
The Ethics Board investigation, hearings and opinions, and all records related to the same shall be confidential. At such time as the Ethics Board concludes its investigation and hearing process regarding a particular matter, it shall prepare a report setting forth its proposed disposition of the particular matter to the Board of Trustees. This report must include the specific reasons for the dispositions proposed. The Board of Trustees shall then convene to review and consider the determinations of the Board of Ethics, and shall render such disposition as it deems warranted. Any findings of violations shall be served upon the subject of the investigation within seven days of the finding by the Board of Trustees and shall be made a part of the public record.

§ 18-21 Enforcement.

A. 
In its discretion the Board of Ethics may recommend appropriate disciplinary action to the Board of Trustees which may include a written warning or reprimand, forfeiture of accrued leave with pay and benefits, required attendance at ethics training seminars, suspension or termination of employment.
B. 
The Ethics Board shall conduct and complete its investigations and hearings with reasonable promptness and shall not act without notice and opportunity to be heard and shall observe appropriate due process.

§ 18-22 Confidential ethics advisory opinions to Village officers and employees.

A. 
The Board of Trustees recognizes the need for the Ethics Board to function as an independent body. As such, the Ethics Board may also render confidential advisory opinions to officers and employees of the Village. Officers and employees are encouraged to seek advisory opinions whenever they are uncertain whether their conduct may violate the Code of Ethics. Such opinions shall be confidential to the extent permitted by law.
B. 
The Ethics Board will prepare an advisory opinion based on a thorough review of the facts and applicable law. The Board's opinion is to be based solely on the facts presented in the request. The opinion is to be rendered, in writing, to the requester as expeditiously as practicable.
C. 
An officer or employee whose conduct or action is the subject of an advisory opinion will not be subject to penalties or sanctions by the Village by virtue of acting, or failing to act, due to a reasonable reliance on the opinion, unless material facts were omitted or misstated in the submission by the requester.
D. 
The Ethics Board will use its best efforts to maintain a confidential file of all advisory opinions issued.

§ 18-23 Penalties for offenses.

Any Village officer or employee who violates this code may be censured, fined, suspended or removed from office or employment in the manner provided by law.