[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Cobleskill 6-10-1991; amended 11-13-2001. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to create the Town of Cobleskill Ethics Code in compliance with Article 18 of the New York State General Municipal Law. The citizenry of the Town of Cobleskill are entitled to the expectation of exemplary ethical behavior from their Town officers, employees and appointed officials, and this chapter is intended to create minimum standards which constitute that behavior. This chapter recognizes that financial disclosure is not required as this municipality has less than 50,000 population and that any future requirements of disclosure in pursuit of official integrity must be balanced against individual constitutional rights. Any particulars not determined by this chapter shall be construed within the provisions of General Municipal Law Article 18.
Unless otherwise indicated, the following terms shall be defined as such for the purpose of the Town of Cobleskill's Code of Ethics:
- Any of the division of Town government, referred to in the definition of “Town” of this section.
- APPROPRIATE BODY
- Pursuant to Article 18 of the General Municipal Law means the Town Board of the Town of Cobleskill.
- CHIEF ELECTED OFFICIAL
- For the purpose of interpreting this chapter only, the Town Supervisor or his or her designee.
- Any son, daughter, stepson or stepdaughter of a Town officer, employee, or appointed official if such child is under the age of 18 or is a dependent of the officer, employee, or appointed official as defined in the Internal Revenue Code Section 152(a)(1) and (2) and any amendments thereto.
- A direct or indirect pecuniary or material interest accruing to a Town officer, employee, or appointed official, his or her spouse or child, whether as the result of a contract with the Town of otherwise. For the purpose of this chapter, a Town officer, employee or appointed official shall be deemed to have an interest in the contract of: his/her spouse and children, except a contract of employment with the Town; a firm, partnership or association of which such officer, employee or appointed official or his/her spouse or child is a member or employee; a corporation of which such officer, employee or appointed official or his/her spouse or child is an officer or director; and the outstanding capital stock of a corporation which is owned by an officer, employee or appointed official or his/her spouse or child.
- Having authority, capacity, power or right to act with regard to the management and administration of policy and supervision of personnel of the Town "agency," as defined above, in which he/she is an officer, employee or appointed "official," as defined above.
- A matter which appears upon the calendar of agenda of the Town Board of Cobleskill or upon a committee thereof upon which any official action has been taken and shall include adopted acts, local law, ordinances, or resolutions.
- OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE
- Any officer of employee of the Town of Cobleskill and any elected officials, appointed officials, and heads of any agency, institution, department, office, branch, division, council, commission, board or bureau of the Town of Cobleskill whether unpaid or paid. No person shall be deemed to be a Town officer or employee solely by reason of being a volunteer fireman or civil defense volunteer, except a fire chief or assistant fire chief.
- A spouse, child or parent of a Town officer, employee, or appointed official.
- The husband or wife of an officer, employee, or appointed official subject to the provisions of this chapter unless legally separated from such officer, employee, or appointed official.
- The Town of Cobleskill or any department, board, executive division, institution, office, branch, bureau, commission, agency, or other division or part thereof.
Prohibited activities. It is the policy of the Town Board of the Town of Cobleskill that all officers and employees must avoid conflicts of interest. A conflict or a potential conflict exists whenever an officer, employee or their relative (as defined above in § 12-2) has an interest, direct or indirect, which conflicts with their duty to the Town or which could adversely affect an individual's judgment in the discharge of his or her responsibilities. No officer, employee or their relatives shall:
Take action or participate in any manner whatsoever in his or her official capacity in the discussion, negotiation or the awarding of any contract or in any business or professional dealings with the Town of Cobleskill or any agency thereof in which the official or employee has or will have an interest, direct or indirect, in such contract or professional dealings.
Engage in, solicit, negotiate for or promise to accept private employment or render services for his or her personal benefit when such employment or service creates a conflict or impairs the proper discharge of his or her official duties.
Solicit, directly or indirectly, any gifts, or receive or accept any gift having the value of $25 or more, whether in the form of money, services, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, thing or promise, or in any other form, under circumstances in which it could be reasonably inferred that the gift was intended to influence him or her, or could reasonably be expected to influence him or her in the performance of his or her official duties or was intended as a reward for any official action on his or her part.
Disclose confidential financial information acquired in the course of his or her official duties or use such information to further his or her personal interest.
Take action on a matter before the Town or any instrumentality thereof when, to his or her knowledge, the performance of that action would provide a pecuniary or material benefit to himself or herself.
Any officer or their relative who has, will have or intends to acquire a direct or indirect interest in any matter being considered by the Town Board of Cobleskill or by any other official, board, agency, officer or employee of the Town of Cobleskill, and who participates in the discussion before or who gives an opinion or gives advice to any board, agency, or individual considering the same, shall publicly disclose on the official record the nature and extent of such interest.
Any officer or employee of the Town of Cobleskill, or their relative, who has knowledge of any matter being considered by any board, agency, officer or employee of the Town of Cobleskill in which he or she has or will have or intends to acquire any direct or indirect interest, shall immediately disclose, in writing, his or her interest to such board, agency, officer or employee, and the nature and the extent thereof, to the degree that such disclosure gives substantial notice of any potential conflict of interest.
Being a municipality of less than 50,000 population, financial disclosure is not required of any position in the Town of Cobleskill.
Every newly elected official, not reelected official, of the Town shall no later than January 31 following the November election at which he or she was elected, or within 30 days of taking office if a special election be held, shall be required to attest that he or she has reviewed the Code of Ethics of the Town of Cobleskill, with said attestation to be filed with the Town Clerk.
Every newly hired employee or newly appointed official shall, prior to commencement of his or her employment or duties with the Town of Cobleskill, but in no event later than 30 days from commencement of his or her employment or duties, shall be required to attest that he or she has reviewed the Code of Ethics of the Town of Cobleskill, with said attestation to be filed with the Town Clerk.
The various elements of the Town of Cobleskill's Code of Ethics are explicitly intended to be construed within the application of Article 18 of the New York State General Municipal Law. Should any portion of this chapter be determined to be unconstitutional or improper, said determination shall have no bearing on the severable remainder of this chapter.
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.
The Town Clerk shall distribute a copy of this Code of Ethics to every officer and employee of the Town of Cobleskill within 10 days after the effective date of this chapter. Each officer elected or appointed thereafter shall be furnished a copy of this chapter by the Town Clerk. Each employee shall be furnished a copy of the Code of Ethics by the department head of the particular department within which such person is employed.
This chapter shall take effect June 10, 1991, and amended November 13, 2001.