Defense and indemnification — See Ch. 23.
Personnel — See Ch. 51.
Boards and commissions — See Ch. 209.
Public records — See Ch. 261.
§ 225-1Procurement of goods and services.
§ 225-2Statement of intent.
§ 225-3Purpose and expectations.
§ 225-6Code provisions.
§ 225-8Ethics Committee.
The following policies and principles are intended to cover all aspects of the small cities program, whether specifically cited or otherwise.
Goods and services shall be procured in a manner that maximizes free and open competition whenever possible in accordance with Town of Raymond Bidding Guidelines adopted on August 14, 1989.
Every effort will be made to actively recruit woman- and minority-owned business and to provide opportunities for local residents and businesses, consistent with Section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968.
All procurement actions shall be conducted in public whenever of substantial interest, and all records related thereto will be open to public review.
The proper operation of democratic government requires that public servants be independent, impartial, and responsible to the people; that government decisions and policy be made through the proper channels of governmental structure; that public office not be used for personal gain; and that the public have confidence in the integrity of its government members to perform their duties without conflicts between their private interests and those of the citizens they serve. In recognition of these goals, a Code of Ethics for all public servants is adopted in accordance with RSA 31:39A.
The purpose of this code is to establish guidelines for the ethical standards of conduct for public servants.
We expect our public servants and volunteers to act in the best interest of the Town.
We expect public servants to disclose any personal, financial or other interests in matters affecting the Town that come before them for action.
We expect public servants to remove themselves from decisionmaking if they have a conflict of interest or even the appearance of one.
We expect public servants to be independent, impartial, and responsible to their fellow townspeople in their actions.
We expect that the public servant's decisions and policies be made through the proper channels of government.
We expect that a public servant position in our Town not be used for personal gain.
It is important that the public have confidence in the integrity of its government and that public servants have an opportunity to protect their personal reputations. This code establishes a process by which one may obtain guidance regarding potential ethical issues, and it establishes a course of action for resolving disputes in a manner that is fair to all of the parties involved.
The Code of Ethics covers conflicts of interest; a duty to disclose and a duty to recuse; unfair personal use of Town property; misuse of confidential information; gifts and favors; a duty to cooperate; and fair dealing/nondiscrimination.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any board, committee, or commission, permanent or special, appointed or elected.
- A person who has submitted a petition to the Ethics Committee requesting an inquiry or alleging a violation of the Code of Ethics.
- CONFLICT OF INTEREST
- A situation, circumstance, or financial interest that has the potential to cause a private or personal interest to interfere with the proper exercise of a public duty.
- A person who is paid by the Town of Raymond for his/her services, but who is not an independent contractor.
- Any person who is related to the public servant in one of the following ways: spouse, domestic partner, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling, or similar relation to the individual's spouse. This includes all persons who are members of the same household as the public servant in question, regardless of whether they are related by blood or marriage.
- A sole proprietorship, joint venture, partnership, corporation and any other form of enterprise, but shall not include a public benefit corporation, local or economic development corporation or other similar entity as defined by the Ethics Committee.
- Any legal or equitable right, share, or claim, whether or not subject to an encumbrance or a condition, which is owned or held, in whole or in part, jointly or severally, including but without limitation a right, share or claim to land.
- Any advantage in the form of money, property, commercial interest or anything else, the primary significance of which is economic gain; it does not include economic advantage applicable to the public generally, such as tax reduction, or increased prosperity generally.
- Those people who are the subject of the action or application that is before the board.
- PUBLIC SERVANT
- All officials, officers and employees of the Town, whether elected, appointed, paid or unpaid. A person is considered a public servant upon her or his election, appointment or other designation as such, although s/he may not yet officially occupy that position.
- QUASI-JUDICIAL ACTION
- Any action where the board or committee members are acting like a judge or a jury. For example, when a board or committee has a duty to notify the potential parties, hear the parties, and can only decide on the matter after weighing and considering such evidence and arguments as the parties choose to lay before the board, the members are involved in a quasi-judicial action. The work of the Planning and Zoning Boards is largely quasi-judicial.
- Removing or excusing oneself from participating in a specific action or discussion due to a conflict of interest. Recusal means to remove oneself completely from all further participation as a public servant in the matter in question.
- A public servant named in a petition submitted to the Ethics Committee as an inquiry or alleging a violation of the Code of Ethics.
- A resident of the Town of Raymond.
- The Town of Raymond, including all of its departments, boards, commissions, and committees.
Individuals covered. This Code of Ethics shall pertain to public servants.
Conflicts of interest.
Public servants shall avoid conflicts of interest or even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Public servants shall not appear on behalf of a client, friend, or family member before any governmental body of which the public servant is a member or whose members have been appointed by the governmental body of which the public servant is a member.
Public servants shall not participate in any matter in which s/he, or a member of her or his family, have a personal interest that may directly or indirectly affect or influence the performance of her or his duties. In such instances, the public servant shall recuse herself or himself from discussion and decisionmaking.
No public servant shall engage in any business, transaction or private employment, or have any financial or other private interest, direct or indirect, which is in conflict with the proper discharge of his or her official duties.
No public servant shall use or attempt to use his or her position as a public servant to obtain any financial gain, contract, license, privilege or other private or personal advantage, direct or indirect, for the public servant or any person or firm associated with the public servant.
No public servant shall give opinion evidence as a paid expert against the interests of the Town in any civil litigation brought by or against the Town.
No public servant shall:
Coerce or attempt to coerce, by intimidation, threats or otherwise, any public servant to engage in political activities;
Request any subordinate public servant to participate in a political campaign. For purposes of this section, participation in a political campaign shall include managing or aiding in the management of a campaign, soliciting votes or canvassing voters for a particular candidate or performing any similar acts which are unrelated to the public servant's duties or responsibilities. Nothing contained herein shall prohibit a public servant from requesting a subordinate public servant to speak on behalf of a candidate or provide information or perform other similar acts, if such acts are related to matters within the public servant's duties or responsibilities;
Misuse his or her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election;
Directly or indirectly, coerce, command, or advise a state or local officer or employee to pay, lend, or contribute anything of value to a party, committee, organization, agency, or person for political purposes; or
Become a candidate for public office in a partisan election as proscribed under the Hatch Act.
No public servant shall receive compensation except from the Town for performing any official duty.
No public servant shall enter into any business or financial relationship with another public servant who is a superior or subordinate of such public servant.
A duty to disclose and a duty to recuse.
Duty to disclose.
Public servants shall not participate in the conduct of business on behalf of the Town or enter into discussion or deliberation of any matter without first, publicly and on the record, stating all dealings; interests; relationships; friendships; employer/employee relationships and possible conflicts which may exist between you and your family and the principals or the issue under consideration.
Individuals in an employment relationship with a public servant may appear on behalf of clients, friends, or family before the governmental body of which that public servant is a member if, and only if, the public servant publicly discloses such affiliation and recuses himself or herself from participation in the matter.
Individuals in an employment relationship with a public servant may appear on behalf of clients, friends, or family before any governmental body whose members have been appointed by the body of which that public servant is a member if, and only if, such appointing public servant publicly discloses such affiliation in writing to that board in advance of the meeting.
Duty to recuse. Public servants have a duty to recuse themselves from participating in specific action or discussion due to a conflict of interest.
Public servants who have been recused may remain in the hearing room for the public input portion of the hearing and shall seat themselves with the other members of the public who are present. When recused, the recused person shall not participate in further discussions, unless s/he clearly states for the record that s/he is doing so only as a general member of the public. The recused person shall not be present in the hearing room once the public input portion of the meeting is closed and the deliberation and voting process begins.
Except as otherwise provided by state law, in the event a board member feels that a member has a conflict of interest, the board may take a nonbinding vote to request recusal by that member. Such action may only be initiated by a member of the sitting board.
Not only does a public servant have a duty to recuse himself or herself as outlined in the section above, a public servant must recuse himself or herself in a quasi-judicial action if he or she would not be qualified to sit as a juror in that case. For example, jurors are not qualified to sit in a case if they have advised or assisted either party in a matter being decided, are prejudiced to any degree regarding the pending matter, or believe they cannot for any reason be totally fair and impartial. As a representative of the Town of Raymond, you are expected to hold yourself to this same standard.
Unfair personal use of Town property. No public servant shall use Town property, services, or labor personally, or make the same available to others, unless such use is available to other residents upon request on equal terms.
Misuse of confidential information. No public servant shall disclose any confidential information which is obtained as a result of the official duties of such public servant and which is not otherwise available to the public or use any such information to advance any direct or indirect financial or other private interest of the public servant or of any other person or firm associated within the public servant; provided, however, that this shall not prohibit any public servant from exercising his or her rights under the applicable State or Federal Whistle Blower's Protection Act or as otherwise required by law.
Gifts and favors. No public servant shall accept or agree to accept any pecuniary gift from any person or firm unless it is a nonmonetary gift of nominal value and only if said person or firm is not or is not likely to become subject to or interested in any matter or action pending before or contemplated by himself or the Town. The Ethics Committee shall annually establish the upper limit on "nominal value."
A duty to cooperate. All public servants shall cooperate fully with the Ethics Committee regarding any complaint or inquiry alleging violation of this Code of Ethics.
Each public servant should endeavor to deal fairly with members of the public, suppliers and fellow public servants and may not be influenced by such person's work for or gifts made to the Town. None should take unfair advantage of anyone through manipulation, concealment, abuse of privileged information, misrepresentation of material facts, or any other unfair-dealing practice.
Public servants shall in the course of their public duties afford equal opportunity to everyone, regardless of age, sex, race, color, marital status, physical or mental disability, religious creed, national origin or sexual orientation.
The prohibition against gifts or favors shall not apply to an award publicly presented in recognition of public service.
The above shall not prohibit a public servant from obtaining a loan from any financial institution upon terms and conditions available to members of the public.
The above shall not prohibit a public servant from participating in collective bargaining or from paying union or shop fees or dues.
The prohibition against gifts and favors shall not apply to attendance at a host meal when it is provided in conjunction with a meeting directly related to the conduct of Town business, or where official attendance by the public servant is sufficiently integral to the public servant's official duties.
These provisions shall not bar any public servant who is a resident of the Town of Raymond from fully participating in any Town Meeting, Town Deliberative Session, or School Deliberative Session.
Police officers, fire fighters and other emergency personnel acting in the course of their official capacities when responding to emergencies in accordance with the rules and regulations of their departments shall not be bound by this Code of Ethics.
It shall not be a violation of the Code of Ethics for supervisors of Town employees to follow personnel policies and procedures or to administer, by their terms, under a collective bargaining unit.
The above shall not apply to acceptance of donations for the express purpose of financing a political campaign, provided that such contributions comply with § 225-6E and are reported in accordance with all local, state and federal laws pertaining to such donations.
The above shall not prohibit a public servant from acting as attorney, agent, broker, employee, officer, director or consultant for any not-for-profit corporation, or association, or other such entity which operates on a not-for-profit basis, interested in business dealings with the Town, provided that:
Such public servant takes no direct or indirect part in such business dealings;
Such not-for-profit entity has no direct or indirect interest in any business dealings with the Town except where it is determined by Town that such activity is in furtherance of the purposes and interests of the Town;
All such activities by such public servant shall be performed at times during which the public servant is not required to perform services for the Town; and
Such public servant receives no salary or other compensation in connection with such activities.
The Town of Raymond shall establish an Ethics Committee to:
The Committee shall endeavor to provide the greatest public access to its actions, discussions and records subject to applicable federal, state, local law and other legal obligations including but not limited to the New Hampshire Right to Know Law, RSA 91-A.
The formation of the Committee.
The Ethics Committee shall consist of five residents of the Town of Raymond. A quorum of three or more committee members shall be necessary to hear any complaint that is filed.
Upon passage of this chapter, the Board of Selectmen shall publicly interview candidates for the Ethics Committee and shall appoint five residents to serve on the Ethics Committee for one-year terms. Among the prospective candidates, the Board of Selectmen is encouraged to consider for appointment individuals who have served as members of the Raymond Code of Ethics Drafting Committee in order to carry forward some of the knowledge and experience gained during the process of developing this Code of Ethics.
Beginning in March 2004, the voters of the Town of Raymond shall elect residents to fill the positions on the Ethics Committee.
Should a vacancy in the committee arise, the remaining members of the Ethics Committee shall elect a resident to serve as an alternate Ethics Committee member until the next election, at which time the voters will elect a member to serve out the remainder, if any, of the term.
The members of the Ethics Committee shall elect a Chairperson on an annual basis.
Education of public servants.
As each new public servant takes the oath of office, she or he shall receive a copy of this code and acknowledge receipt in writing within 30 days.
The Ethics Committee shall establish a training policy for public servants so they may familiarize themselves with the provisions of this code.
The training policy shall provide for training on this Code of Ethics on at least an annual basis for all public servants.
Inquiries. The Ethics Committee shall establish a mechanism by which public servants, residents of the Town of Raymond, and others may obtain advice and counsel from the Committee regarding ethical issues that may arise from time to time. Upon request, the Ethics Committee may issue a written advisory opinion in response to such an inquiry.
Complaints. The Ethics Committee shall have the power to investigate all written complaints that are filed; establish forms by which public servants, residents of the Town of Raymond, and others may file complaints or request that an inquiry be made; and only review complaints based on alleged violations of § 225-6 of this chapter.
All such requests or complaints must be in writing, shall specify the provision of the code which the complainant believes was violated, and must be signed by the complainant. When signing the complaint, the complainant shall acknowledge in writing that he or she has read the Code of Ethics and that he or she has a good faith basis for alleging a violation of the Code of Ethics and that he or she has exhausted all other administrative avenues of relief available to him or her within Town government prior to filing a complaint with the Ethics Committee.
Any official, board member or employee against whom a written complaint is filed shall be given a copy of the complaint and, upon written request, shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard and to present evidence to the Ethics Committee.
The Ethics Committee shall have sole discretion for setting rules regarding the conduct of hearings. The Committee shall seek to make sure that both the complainant and the respondent have an opportunity to be heard and to present evidence, but the Committee may limit the testimony and evidence which is presented to it if in the opinion of the Committee the testimony and evidence in question is irrelevant, unnecessary, redundant, or unreliable.
The Ethics Committee may require, with sufficient written notice, any official, board member or employee of Town government to appear before it to provide testimony regarding pending complaints. The Ethics Committee, for this purpose, may administer oaths and require the production of evidence such as documents.
Within 30 days of concluding an investigation into a written complaint, the Ethics Committee shall issue a written statement setting forth its findings. Unless prohibited by law, the Ethics Committee will provides copies to all parties. The Ethics Committee shall not have the power to impose any monetary or other penalty, only to issue a written statement as set forth above.
The public or the complainant has the responsibility to pursue further enforcement actions.