[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lawrence 11-9-1970 by Ord. No. 219. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Pursuant to the provisions of § 806 of the General Municipal Law, the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lawrence 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 Code of Ethics to promulgate these rules of ethical conduct for the officers and employees of said Village. These rules shall serve as a guide for the official conduct of the officers and employees of said Village. The rules of the ethical conduct of this code, 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.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A pecuniary or material benefit accruing to a municipal officer or employee, unless the context otherwise requires.
- MUNICIPAL OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE
- An officer or employee of the Village of Lawrence, whether paid or unpaid, including members of any administrative board, commission or other agency thereof. No person shall be deemed to be a municipal officer or employee solely by reason of being a volunteer fireman or civil defense volunteer, except a Chief Engineer or Assistant Chief Engineer.
Every officer or employee of the Village of Lawrence shall be subject to and abide by the following standards of conduct:
A person who accepts a public office or public employment subjects himself to legal and ethical standards of conduct that are broader and more exacting than those applicable in private office or private employment. He does not act for a private individual or corporation or to enable a private individual or corporation to make a profit. He acts for and in behalf of the public. In his dealings with others, he represents the public. He, too, is a member of the public. Just as he would wish public officers and employees to deal with him as a member of the public, so he, as a public official or member of the public, should deal with others. Just as he would demand that the officers and employees of his municipality maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity and subordinate their own personal interests to the interests of the municipality that they represent, so must he maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity and subordinate his own personal interest to the interests of the municipality that he represents. Just as he would condemn the officers and employees of his municipality if they used their offices or employment for personal gain and advantage, so he must avoid the same acts and conduct that he would condemn in others.
Honesty and integrity cannot be legislated. It cannot be defined by statute, ordinance, code, rule or regulation. The specific standards enumerated in this code must be observed, the specific disclosures set forth in the statute must be made. But it does not follow that acts not expressly prohibited are permitted or sanctioned or that conflicts of interest that are not specifically directed to be disclosed may be concealed. There are ethical and moral standards of conscience and common decency as well. These may be even more vital and compelling than the standards that have been specifically set forth in statute or code. They, too, must be scrupulously observed.
Gifts. He shall not, directly or indirectly, solicit any gift or accept or receive any gift, regardless of its value, whether in the form of money, services, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, thing or promise, or any other form, 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.
Confidential information. He shall not disclose confidential information acquired by him in the course of his official duties or use such information to further his personal interest.
Representation before one's own agency. He shall not receive or enter into any agreement, express or implied, for compensation for services to be rendered in relation to any matter before any municipal agency of which he is an officer, member or employee or of any municipal agency over which he has jurisdiction or to which he has the power to appoint any member, officer or employee.
Representation before any agency for a contingent fee. He shall not receive or enter into any agreement, express or implied, for compensation for services to be rendered in relation to any manner before any agency of his municipality, whereby his 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 interest in legislation. To the extent that he knows thereof, a member of the Board of Trustees and any officer or employee of the Village of Lawrence, whether paid or unpaid, who participates in the discussion or gives official opinion to the Board of Trustees on any legislation before the Board of Trustees shall publicly disclose on the official record the nature and extent of any direct or indirect financial or other private interest he has in such legislation.
Investments in conflict with official duties. He shall not invest or hold any investment, directly or indirectly, in any financial or business transaction which creates a conflict with his official duties.
Private employment. He shall not engage in, solicit, negotiate for or promise to accept private employment or render services for private interests when such employment or services create a conflict with or impair the proper discharge of his official duties.
Future employment. He shall not, after the termination of service or employment with such municipality, appear before any board or agency of the Village in relation to any case, proceeding or application in which he personally participated during the period of his service or employment or which was under his active consideration.
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 Village, or any agency thereof, on behalf of himself or any member of his family, arising out of any personal injury or property damage or for any lawful benefit authorized or permitted by law.
The Mayor shall cause a copy of this Code of Ethics to be distributed to every officer and employee of the Village within 10 days after the effective date of this code. Each officer and employee elected or appointed thereafter shall be furnished a copy before entering upon the duties of his office or employment.
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 code may be fined, suspended or removed from office or employment, as the case may be, in the manner provided by law.