Town of Wells, ME
York County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Wells 4-18-1995. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Personnel policies — See Ch. 49.

§ 230-1 Declaration of policy.

The proper operation of democratic government requires that Selectmen and their appointees be fair, impartial and responsive to the needs of the people and each other in the performance of their respective functions and duties; that decisions and policy be made in proper channels of the Town's governmental structure; that public office not be used simply for personal gain; and that such Selectmen and their appointees maintain a standard of conduct that will inspire public confidence in the integrity of the Town's government. In recognition of these goals, a Code of Ethics is hereby established pursuant to 30-A M.R.S.A. § 2605 for all Selectmen and all members and associate members of the Zoning Board of Appeals, Planning Board, Personnel Advisory Board, Assessment Review Board, Board of Voter Registration, Budget Committee, Town Conservation Commission, Shellfish Conservation Committee, Historic Preservation Commission, Recreation Commission and the Capital Improvement Committee.

§ 230-2 Definitions.

As used in this code, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BOARD
The Zoning Board of Appeals, Planning Board, Personnel Advisory Board, Assessment Review Board, Board of Voter Registration and any other municipal board which exists or may be created.
BOARD MEMBER
Any member or associate member of a board.
BOARD OF SELECTMEN
For purposes of this code, references to the "Selectmen" or to the "Board of Selectmen" shall be construed to mean the Selectmen of the Town of Wells and any of the committees or subcommittees thereof.
BUSINESS
Any corporation, partnership, individual, sole proprietorship, joint venture or any other legally recognized entity organized for the purpose of making a profit.
COMMISSION
The Town Conservation Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, Recreation Commission and any other municipal commission which exists or may be created.
COMMISSION MEMBER
Any member or associate member of a commission.
COMMITTEE
The Budget Committee, Capital Improvement Committee, Shellfish Conservation Committee and any other municipal committee which exists or may be created.
COMMITTEE MEMBER
Any member or associate member of a committee.
FINANCIAL INTEREST
A direct or indirect interest having monetary or pecuniary value, including but not limited to the ownership of stock.
IMMEDIATE FAMILY
A spouse and the following when living in the household of a Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member: children, parents, brothers and sisters.
SELECTMAN
Any member of the Town of Wells Board of Selectmen.
SPECIAL INTEREST
A direct or indirect interest having value peculiar to a certain individual or group, whether economic or otherwise, which value may accrue to such individual or group as a result of the passage or denial of any order, ordinance or resolution, or the approval or disapproval thereof, by the Selectmen, board, committee or commission and which interest is not shared by the general public.
TOWN EMPLOYEE
Any individual working for, on a permanent or temporary basis, and drawing a salary from the Town of Wells, except employees of the School Department. The term "Town employee" shall not include consultants or special personnel providing services on a short-term contractual basis.

§ 230-3 Standards of conduct.

The purpose of this code is to establish ethical standards of conduct for all Selectmen, board members, committee members and commission 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 Wells.
A. 
Statutory standards. There are certain provisions of the general statutes of the State of Maine which should, while not set forth herein, be considered an integral part of this policy. 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 Selectmen, board members, committee members or commission members of the Town of Wells whenever applicable as if more fully set forth therein, to wit:
(1) 
17 M.R.S.A. § 3104, Conflicts of Interest; Purchases by the State.
(2) 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 456, Tampering with Public Records or Information.
(3) 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 602, Bribery in Official and Political Matters.
(4) 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 603, Improper Influence.
(5) 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 604, Improper Compensation for Past Action.
(6) 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 605, Improper Gifts to Public Servants.
(7) 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 606, Improper Compensation for Services
(8) 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 607, Purchase of Public Office.
(9) 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 608, Official Oppression.
(10) 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 609, Misuse of Information.
(11) 
17-A M.R.S.A. § 903, Misuse of Entrusted Property.
(12) 
21-A M.R.S.A. § 504, Persons Ineligible to Serve.
(13) 
30-A M.R.S.A. § 2605, Conflicts of Interest.
(14) 
30-A M.R.S.A. § 5122, Interest of Public Officials, Trustees or Employees.
B. 
Contracts, purchases and employment.
(1) 
No Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member shall participate directly by means of deliberation, approval or disapproval or recommendation in the purchase of goods and services for the Town, and the award of any contracts with the Town, except as permitted under the Town's purchasing regulations and under the laws of the State of Maine, where to his or her knowledge there is a financial interest, or special interest other than that possessed by the public generally, in such purchase or award, held by:
(a) 
Himself or herself or a member of his or her immediate family;
(b) 
A business in which he or she or a member of his or her immediate family serves as an officer, director, trustee, partner or employee in a supervisory or management position; or
(c) 
Any other person or business with whom or which he or she or a member of his or her immediate family is in business or is negotiating or has an arrangement concerning future employment.
(2) 
No Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member shall participate by means of deliberation, approval or disapproval or recommendation in the decision to hire, promote, discipline, lay off or to take any other personnel action in respect to any applicant for employment or employee, as the case may be, where said applicant or employee is:
(a) 
A member of his or her immediate family; or
(b) 
A person with whom either he or she or a member of his or her immediate family is in business.
C. 
Disclosure of confidential information. No Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member shall, without proper legal authorization, disclose confidential information concerning the property, government or affairs of the Town; nor shall he or she use such information to advance the financial or private interest of himself or herself or others. For purposes of this subsection, the term "confidential information" shall mean any information, oral or written, which comes to the attention of, or is available to, such Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member only because of his or her position with the Town and is not a matter of public record. Information received and discussed during an executive session of the Wells Selectmen or any town agency called pursuant to 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 et seq. 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.
D. 
Gifts and favors. No Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member shall accept any valuable gift, whether in the form of service, loan, thing or promise, from any person and/or business who or which to his or her knowledge is interested directly or indirectly in any manner whatsoever in business dealings with the Town, nor shall any Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member accept any gift, favor or thing of value that tends to influence him or her in the discharge of his or her official duties or grant in the discharge of his or her official duties any improper favor, service or thing of value. Nothing herein shall prohibit the acceptance of gifts or favors by Selectmen, board members, committee members or commission members from members of their immediate families.
E. 
Use of town property. No Selectman 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. Nothing herein shall prohibit the use of Town buildings and equipment at rates and/or on terms as may be established.
F. 
Representing third party interest before town agencies. No Selectman shall either appear on behalf of any third party interest before any Town agency or represent a third party interest in any action, proceeding or litigation in which the Town or one of its agencies is a party. Nothing herein shall prohibit a Selectman, on behalf of a constituent in the course of his or her duties as a representative of the electorate, or any Selectman on behalf of his or her personal interest, from appearing before a Town agency. No board member, committee member or commission member shall appear on behalf of any third party interest before a Town agency of which he or she is a current member. Nothing herein shall prohibit a board member, committee member or commission member, on behalf of his or her personal interest, from appearing before any Town agency, including that of which he or she is a current member.
G. 
Conflicts of interest. Agenda items.
(1) 
Deliberation and vote prohibited. No Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member shall, in such capacity, participate in the deliberation or vote, or otherwise take part in the decision-making process, on any agenda item before his or her collective body in which he or she or a member of his or her immediate family has a financial or special interest, other than an interest held by the public generally.
(2) 
Disclosure of conflict. Any Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member who believes that he or she or a member of his or her immediate family has a financial or special interest, other than an interest held by the public generally, in any agenda item before his or her collective body shall disclose the nature and extent of such interest, and the Town Clerk or his or her designee shall make a record of such disclosure. Additionally, any Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member who believes that any fellow Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member, or a member of such fellow Selectman's, board member's, committee member's or commission member's immediate family has a financial or special interest, other than an interest held by the public generally, in any agenda item before his or her collective body shall disclose the nature and extent of such interest, and the Town Clerk or his or her designee shall make a record of such disclosure.
(3) 
Determination of conflict. Once the issue of conflict has been initiated relative to an individual Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member and disclosure has been made as provided above, such individual's fellow Selectmen, board members, committee members or commission members shall vote on whether or not such individual shall be excused from participating in the deliberation or vote, or otherwise taking part in the decision-making process, on the relevant agenda item. Such individual shall be excused only upon a vote of the majority of his or her fellow Selectmen, board members, committee members or commission members then present that a conflict of interest in fact exists.
(4) 
Avoidance of appearance of conflict. To avoid the appearance of a violation of this section, once any individual Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member is determined to have a conflict of interest in respect to any agenda item, said individual shall immediately remove himself or herself from the meeting room or to the area of the room occupied by the general public. He or she shall not return to his or her regular seat as a member of the body until deliberation and action on the item is completed. Nothing herein shall require an individual Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member to remove himself or herself for any item contained on a consent agenda on which there is no deliberation, the individual's conflict has been determined by the other members and the right to abstain from voting on the item has been granted.
(5) 
Personal interest. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit any Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member from representing his or her own personal interest by appearing before his or her collective body on any such agenda item.
(6) 
Political activities.
(a) 
No Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member shall participate in any political activity which would be in conflict or incompatible with the performance of his or her official functions and duties for the Town.
(b) 
In conjunction therewith, no Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member may use his or her official authority or position for the purposes of influencing or interfering with or affecting the results of any election, nor shall he or she solicit funds or contributions or accept or receive funds or contributions from Town employees for political purposes. No Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member may distribute pamphlets or handbills while he or she is performing his or her official functions and duties with the Town. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit any Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member from participating in the political process in his or her capacity as a private citizen.
(7) 
Incompatible employment of office. No Selectman, board member, committee member or commission 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 or her official duties with the Town. For purposes of this code, the occupancy of any office, elected or appointed, with any other governmental entity by any Selectman, board member, committee member or commission member is hereby prohibited in any one of 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 a subordinate of the other;
(c) 
Where one office carries the power of removal of the other; or
(d) 
Where the occupancy of both offices is otherwise prohibited by law.

§ 230-4 Violations and penalties.

In addition to any other penalties or remedies as may be provided by law, violation of this code shall constitute cause for censure, after notice and hearing conducted by the Selectmen. A majority of the Wells' Selectmen shall conduct such proceedings.

§ 230-5 Severability.

If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this code is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional, such invalidity or unconstitutionality shall not affect the validity or constitutionality of the remaining portions of this code.