[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Marple 11-8-1976 by Ord. No. 76-15 (Ch. 3 of the 1971 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Board of Commissioners — See Ch. 12.
The proper operation of Marple Township government requires that township officials and employees be independent, impartial and responsible to the people; that governmental decisions and policy be made in the proper channels of the governmental structure; that public office and employment not be used for personal gain; and that the public have confidence in the integrity of the government and its employees. In recognition of these goals there is hereby established a Code of Ethics for all Marple Township officials and employees, whether elected or appointed, paid or unpaid. The purpose of this code is to define ethical standards of conduct for all Marple Township officials and employees by setting forth those acts or actions that are incompatible with the best interests of the township. The provisions and purpose of this code and such rules and regulations as are hereby established are declared to be in the best interests of the Township of Marple.
Marple Township officials and employees are agents of public purpose and hold office for the benefit of the public. They are bound to uphold the Constitution of the United States and Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and to carry out impartially the laws of the nation, state and township and thus to foster respect for all government. They are bound to observe in their official acts the highest standards of morality and to discharge faithfully the duties of their office regardless of personal considerations, recognizing that public interest must be their primary concern. (Their conduct in both their official and private affairs, as such private affairs relate to their ability to effectively serve the township, should be above reproach.) Professional employees shall, in addition to this chapter, abide by and comply with the standard code of professional responsibility of their profession.
Marple Township officials and employees should adhere to the rules of work and performance established as the standard for their positions by the appropriate authority. Marple Township officials and employees shall under no circumstances exceed their authority or breach the law or ask others to do so, and they shall work in full cooperation with other public officials and employees, unless prohibited from so doing by law or by officially recognized confidentiality of their work.
Interest in appointments. There shall be no solicitation by the Board of Commissioners to induce the Township Manager to hire individuals without full disclosure being made to the remainder of the Board of Commissioners prior to the hiring of the person.
Use of public property. No Marple Township official or employee shall request or permit the use of township-owned vehicles, equipment, materials or property for personal convenience or profit. Exception can only be authorized by the Board of Commissioners.
Obligations to citizens. No Marple Township official or employee shall grant any special consideration, treatment or advantage to any citizen beyond that which is available to every other citizen.
No Marple Township official or employee, whether paid or unpaid, shall engage in any business transaction or shall have a financial or other interest, direct or indirect, which in any way involves the proper discharge of his official duties in the public interest or would tend to impair his independence of judgment or action in the performance of his official duties. Specific conflicts of interest are enumerated below for the guidance of Marple Township officials and employees:
Incompatible employment. No Marple Township official or employee shall engage in or accept public or private employment or render services for public or private interests when such employment or service would conflict or interfere with or influence him in the proper discharge of his official duties or would tend to impair his independence of judgment or action in the performance of his official duties. This includes taking action in matters where there is a promise of future business arising from the action taken, of a reciprocal nature or otherwise. The Marple Township official shall have the duty to abstain from voting in all such instances.
Disclosure of confidential information. No Marple Township official or employee shall, without proper legal authorization, disclose confidential information concerning the property, government or affairs of the township, nor shall he use such information to advance the financial or other private interest of himself or others.
Gifts and favors. No Marple Township official or employee shall accept any valuable gift, whether in the form of service, loan or promise, from any person, firm or corporation which to his knowledge is interested directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever, in business dealings with the township; nor shall any Marple Township official or employee accept any gift, favor or thing of value in excess of $75 per gift nor grant, in the discharge of his duties, any improper favor, service or thing of value. Annual Christmas gifts for the Refuse Department are hereby excluded from this provision.
Representing private interests before boards, commissions or judicial bodies. No Marple Township official or employee shall represent both the township and a private party before boards, commissions or judicial bodies. Commissioners will be allowed to represent persons before boards, commissions or judicial bodies.
Contracts with the township. Any Marple Township official or employee who has any financial interest in any business entity, transaction or contract with the township or in the sale or rental of real estate, materials, supplies or services to the township, or whose immediate family has such an interest, shall make known to the Board of Commissioners such interest in any matter on which he may be called to act in his official capacity. He shall refrain from voting upon or otherwise participating in the transaction or the making of such contract or sale.
Disclosure of interest in legislation.
Any Marple Township official or employee who has a financial or other private interest, directly or indirectly, or has an immediate member of his family who has such interest, in any legislation either pending or proposed on which the township will take any action or make any recommendation, shall disclose on the records of the Board and other appropriate authority the nature and extent of such interest as soon as possible and prior to the Board or appropriate authority voting on any action or recommendation.
Any Marple Township official or employee who has a financial or other private interest, or whose immediate family has such an interest, and who participates in discussion with or gives an official opinion to the Board, shall disclose on the records of the Board and other appropriate authority the nature and extent of such interest.
"Immediate member of the family" is defined to include spouse, children, spouses of children and parents.
No Marple Township official or employee shall utilize township facilities, equipment or supplies, directly or indirectly, in political campaigns or to the benefit of any political candidate. No Marple employee, other than elected officials, shall solicit any contributions or subscriptions to any political party or candidate.
[Amended 6-9-1986 by Ord. No. 86-12]
No Marple Township official or employee, whether elected or appointed, shall promise an appointment to any township position as a reward for any political activity.
There is hereby created an Ethics Board to consist of five members who shall serve without compensation of any kind.
The membership of the Ethics Board shall be as follows: the President of the Board of Commissioners will be the Chairman; there shall be two other Commissioners as well as two citizens. The Township Manager and Township Solicitor shall provide necessary staff assistance as requested by the Board, but shall have no vote.
The citizen members of the Ethics Board shall be appointed by the Board of Commissioners. Terms of office shall be two years for the citizens, with the Commissioners serving for one year.
The Ethics Board shall be chaired by the President of the Board of Commissioners and shall develop written rules of procedures which shall be submitted to the Board of Commissioners for approval.
The Ethics Board may make recommendations with respect to amendments to this Code of Ethics.
The Ethics Board shall receive complaints of violations of the Code of Ethics which shall be verified by oath or affidavit and shall hear and investigate complaints and transmit the findings and all supporting documentation, evidence and testimony to the Board of Commissioners. The findings shall be a public record and shall be signed by the Chairman of the Ethics Board and formally filed with the Board of Commissioners.
Any Marple Township official or employee who disagrees with the findings against him or her may request in writing, within 30 days, a public hearing before the Board of Commissioners.
The Ethics Board will meet at the call of the Chairman or any member of the Board of Commissioners and shall act, except as provided in § 22-8 below, only on submission of written charges or complaints filed by an identified individual who shall sign such charges along with an affidavit before a person authorized to give oaths. The Township Manager shall annually present the Code of Ethics to each employee during the first 60 days of each year and retain on file evidence that such was done.
When a Marple Township Commissioner or employee has doubts as to the applicability of a provision of this chapter to a particular situation, he may apply to the Solicitor for a legal interpretation. The Marple Township Commissioner or employee shall have the opportunity to present his version of the facts at issue and of the applicable provision(s) of the chapter before such legal interpretation is made. This chapter shall be operative in all instances covered by its provisions, except when superseded by an applicable statutory or Charter provision and statutory or Charter action is mandatory or when the application of a statutory or Charter provision is discretionary but determined by the Board of Commissioners to be more appropriate or desirable.
Violation of any provisions of this chapter may constitute a cause for suspension, termination of employment or other disciplinary action to be invoked under applicable law by the Board of Commissioners. Voluntary resignation will be made available to employees upon request.