[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Lodi 11-6-2007 by Ord. No. A-384. Amendments noted where applicable.]
To ensure that the public can have complete confidence in the integrity of the City of Lodi government, each elected official and employee shall respect and adhere to the fundamental principles of ethical service. The proper operation of City government demands that:
City of Lodi officials and employees be independent, impartial and responsible to the people;
Decisions be made in the proper channels of the City structure;
City offices should not be used for personal gain;
City business should be conducted in such a way so as to reinforce the public's confidence in its integrity.
In recognition of these fundamental principles, there is hereby created a Code of Ethics.
The purpose of this Code is to establish ethical standards of conduct for all City of Lodi officials and employees by identifying those acts or actions that are not compatible with the best interest of the City. Because representatives of the City are drawn from society, they cannot and should not be without all personal and economic interest in the decisions and policies of government. Citizens who serve as City officials and employees retain their rights as citizens to personal and economic interests. Therefore, the standards of ethical conduct for City officials and employees must distinguish between minor and inconsequential conflicts which are unavoidable and those conflicts which are substantial and material. The provisions of this code, and such rules and regulations which may be established, are to be interpreted in the context of the above principles and are deemed to be in the best interest of the public.
City officials and employees are agents of public purpose and hold office to serve the public interest. They are bound to uphold the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin and to carry out efficiently and impartially all laws of the United States, the State of Wisconsin, and the ordinances of the City of Lodi. Further, they are bound to observe, in their official acts, the standards of ethics set forth in this code and to faithfully discharge the duties of their office. The public interest must be their primary concern.
This code governs all City of Lodi officials, whether elected or appointed, paid or unpaid, including members of boards, committees and commissions, department heads, and other City employees. All Lodi officials and employees shall be provided a written copy of this code, and each shall sign an acknowledgement indicating that he/she has been provided a copy of the code and read it. The acknowledgement should be signed by each official or employee, with his/her signature witnessed and dated.
Political contributions which are reported under Chapter 11, Wis. Stats., are exempt from the provisions of this code.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ANYTHING OF VALUE
- Any money or property, favor, service, payment, advance forbearance, loan or promise of future employment, but does not include such things as compensation and expenses paid by the state or City, fees, honorariums and expenses, unsolicited advertising or promotional material such as pens, pencils, notepads, calendars, information or educational materials of unexceptional value, plaques, other advertising giveaways or any other thing which is not likely to influence the judgment of individuals covered by this code.
- All persons filling an allocated position of City employment and all members of boards, committees, and commissions.
- FINANCIAL INTEREST
- Any interest which yields, directly or indirectly, a monetary or other material benefit to the City officer or employee or to any person employing or retaining services of the City officer or employee.
- IMMEDIATE FAMILY
- An official's or employee's spouse, children, stepchildren, parents, stepparents, or other legal relation who contributes more than one-half of the support of the official or receives that level of support from the official or employee.
- All City department heads or directors, a member of the Common Council, and all other City elected and appointed officers.
- Any individual, corporation, partnership, joint venture, association or organization.
- PRIVILEGED INFORMATION
- Any written or oral material related to City government which has not become part of the body of public information and which is designated by statute, court decision, lawful orders, ordinances, resolution or custom as privileged.
- RELATED PERSON
- Spouse, parents, children, siblings, and any person sharing the employee's residence.
Use of public property. An official or employee shall not use, or knowingly permit the use of, City services or City-owned vehicles, equipment or materials for unauthorized nongovernmental purposes or for unauthorized personal convenience or for profit.
Obligations to citizens. An official or employee shall not grant any special consideration, treatment or advantage to any citizen beyond that which is available to every other citizen. This section does not affect the duty of the Mayor or Alderpersons to diligently represent their constituency.
Receipt of gifts and gratuities prohibited. An official or employee shall not accept anything of value, whether in the form of a gift, service, loan or promise, from any person which may impair his or her independence of judgment or action in the performance of his or her official duties.
Exception. It is not a conflict of interest for an official or employee to receive a gift or gratuity that is an unsolicited item of insignificant value or anything which is given to him or her independent of his or her position as an official or employee.
Business interest. An official or employee shall not engage in any business or transaction or act in regard to any financial interest, direct or indirect, which:
Employment. A City official or employee shall not engage in or accept any private employment or render any service for a private interest when such employment or service is incompatible with the proper discharge of his or her official duties or which may impair his or her independence of judgment or action in the performance of his or her official duties unless otherwise permitted by law or unless disclosure is made as hereinafter provided.
Contracting. A City official or employee in their private capacity is prohibited from participating in the formation of a contract or contracts with City of Lodi. A City official or employee may contract, without participation in the negotiation or bidding process, with the City of Lodi if the receipts or disbursements are less than $15,000 in any year.
A member of the Common Council who has a financial interest in any proposed action before the Common Council shall disclose the nature and extent of such interest to the City Clerk and the Common Council prior to or during the initial discussion of such action and shall refrain from participating in the discussion of and/or voting on such action. A member of the Common Council shall request to be excused by the Council or Committee Chair for the duration of any deliberations concerning such action in which the member has a financial interest. Any other official or employee who has a financial interest in any proposed action before the Common Council, and who participates in discussion with or gives an official opinion or recommendation to the Common Council, shall first disclose the nature and extent of such interest to the Common Council.
An official or employee shall not knowingly disclose or permit the disclosure of privileged information to any person not lawfully authorized to receive such privileged information. An official or employee shall not use privileged information to advance his or her personal financial interest or that of his or her immediate family.
An official or employee shall not accept, from any person or organization directly or indirectly, anything of value without full payment, if it could reasonably be expected to influence his or her vote, governmental actions or judgments or is provided to such official or employee because of his or her position or office and could reasonably be considered as a reward for any governmental action or inaction.
Department heads are prohibited from hiring a person related to them for City employment.
No person shall be employed, promoted, or transferred to any department, division, or work unit when, as a result, the employee would be individually and directly supervising or receiving direct and individual supervision from a related person.
Statutes incorporated by reference. The following sections of the Wisconsin Statutes are hereby incorporated by reference and made a part of this Code of Ethics:
Violation of incorporated statutes. Officials shall comply with the sections of the Wisconsin Statutes incorporated in this code, and failure to do so shall constitute a violation of this Code of Ethics.
Advisory opinions. Any person governed by this Code of Ethics may apply in writing to the Ethics Board for an advisory opinion and shall be guided by any opinion rendered. The applicant shall present his or her interpretation of the facts at issue and of the applicability of provisions of this Code before the advisory opinion is rendered. All requests for opinions and opinions rendered shall be in writing. The Ethics Board may consult with the City Attorney as needed. Records of the City Attorney's opinions, opinion requests and investigations of violations shall be closed to inspection, as required by Chapter 19, Wis. Stats. Such records may be made public with the consent of the applicant.
Complaints. The City Attorney shall accept from any person a verified written complaint which states the name of the officer or employee alleged to have committed a violation of this code and sets forth the material facts involved in the allegation. The City Attorney shall forward a copy of the complaint to the accused officer or employee and the Ethics Inquiry Board within 10 days. If no action on the verified complaint is taken by the Ethics Inquiry Board within 30 days, the complaint shall be dismissed.
Preliminary investigations. Following the receipt of a verified complaint, the Ethics Inquiry Board may make preliminary investigations with respect to the alleged violation of this Code. A preliminary investigation shall not be initiated unless the accused officer or employee is notified in writing. The notice shall state the exact nature and purpose of the investigation, the individual's specific action or activities to be investigated and a statement of such person's due process rights. If the Ethics Inquiry Board finds probable cause to believe the allegations contained in the complaint, the complaint shall be referred to hearing pursuant to § 54-14D before the Ethics Inquiry Board.
Time limitations. The Ethics Inquiry Board may investigate any complaint properly filed with it. However, no action may be taken on any complaint which is filed more than one year after a violation of the Ethics Code is alleged to have occurred.
Ethics Inquiry Board. The Ethics Inquiry Board shall be established pursuant to § 12-15.
Powers and duties. The Ethics Inquiry Board shall be responsible for investigating a complaint, and conducting a fact-finding hearing pursuant to § 54-14D, in any case where the Ethics Inquiry Board has found that probable cause exists for believing the allegations of a complaint referred to the Ethics Inquiry Board after preliminary review pursuant to § 54-14B through D.
Burden of proof. The burden of proving a violation alleged in the complaint shall be on the complainant. Violations shall be proved by evidence that is clear, satisfactory and convincing.
Hearing. The Ethics Inquiry Board may hold, and an individual against whom a complaint has been made and where the complaint has been referred to the Ethics Inquiry Board may request, a hearing before the Ethics Inquiry Board. The Ethics Inquiry Board shall keep a record of the hearing. The Ethics Inquiry Board shall have the power to compel the attendance of witnesses and to issue subpoenas as granted to other boards and commissions under §§ 19.59(3) and 885.01, Wis. Stats.
Within 10 work days of the conclusion of the hearing, the Ethics Inquiry Board shall file its written findings and recommendations signed by all participating members, together with findings of fact and conclusions of law, concerning the propriety of the conduct of the public official. If the Ethics Inquiry Board determines that no violation of the Code of Ethics has occurred, it shall dismiss the complaint and, if requested to do so by the accused, issue a public statement.
No recommendation of the Ethics Inquiry Board becomes effective until 20 work days after it is issued, or while an application for rehearing or rehearing before the Ethics Inquiry Board is pending, or the Ethics Inquiry Board has announced its final determination on rehearing.
Enforcement and penalties. If the Ethics Inquiry Board finds that clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence exists for believing the allegations of the complaint, the Ethics Inquiry Board shall refer its findings and recommendation to the Common Council or, in the case of an employee, to the Administrative Coordinator. The Board may make the following recommendations:
Recommend that the Common Council order the officer or employee to conform his or her conduct to the Ethics Code or recommend that the official or employee be censured, suspended, removed from office, be issued a private reprimand, public reprimand, and in the case of an employee may also recommend denial of merit increase, suspension without pay, demotion, discharge, or other appropriate disciplinary action.
The Ethics Inquiry Board may also refer the matter to the District Attorney to commence enforcement pursuant to the procedures and remedies of § 19.59, Wis. Stats.