[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lancaster 3-22-2010 by L.L. No. 1-2010 (Ch. 10 of the 1976 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Pursuant to the provisions of § 806 of the General Municipal Law, the Village Board of the Village of Lancaster recognizes that there are rules of ethical conduct for public officers and employees which must be observed if a high degree of moral conduct is to be obtained and if public confidence is to be maintained in our unit of local government. It is the purpose of this chapter to promulgate these rules of ethical conduct for the officers and employees of the Village of Lancaster. These rules shall serve as a guide for official conduct of the officers and employees of the Village of Lancaster. The rules of ethical conduct of this chapter as adopted shall not conflict with, but shall be in addition to, any prohibition of Article 18 of the General Municipal Law or any other general or special law relating to ethical conduct and interest in contracts of municipal officers and employees.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any claim, account, or demand against or agreement with a municipality, express or implied, and shall include the designation of a depository of public funds and the designation of a newspaper, including but not limited to an official newspaper, for the publication of any notice, resolution, ordinance, or other proceeding where such publication is required or authorized by law.
- A direct or indirect pecuniary or material benefit accruing to a municipal officer or employee as a result of a contract with the municipality which such officer or employee serves. For the purposes of this chapter, a municipal officer or employee shall be deemed to have an interest in the contract of:
- (1) His spouse, minor children and dependents, except a contact of employment with the municipality which such officer or employee serves;
- (2) A firm, partnership or association of which such officer or employee is a member or employee;
- (3) A corporation of which such officer or employee is an officer, director or employee; and
- (4) A corporation any stock of which is owned or controlled directly or indirectly by such officer or employee.
- MUNICIPAL OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE
- Any person elected, appointed or hired to serve the Village of Lancaster in any capacity, whether paid or unpaid, or for a term fixed or not fixed, including, without limit, persons serving on a temporary, part-time or seasonal basis, persons paid with funds derived from other than Village revenue sources and persons serving on administrative or advisory boards, commissions or committees, whether permanent or temporary. No person shall be deemed to be a municipal officer or employee solely by reason of being a volunteer fireman or civil defense volunteer, except a Fire Chief or assistant Fire Chief.
Words in the singular number shall include the plural number, and words in the plural number shall include the singular number. The masculine gender shall include the feminine, and the feminine gender shall include the masculine.
Every officer or employee of the Village of Lancaster shall be subject to and abide by the following standards of conduct:
Gifts. He shall not, directly or indirectly, solicit any gift or accept or receive any gift having a value of $75 or more, whether in the form of money, service, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, thing or promise, or any other form, under circumstances in which it could reasonably be inferred that the gift was intended to influence him, or could reasonably be expected to influence him, in the performance of his official duties or was intended as a reward for any official action on his part.
Confidential information. He shall not disclose confidential information acquired by him in the course of his official duties or use such information to further his personal interest or that of another person.
Representation before one's own agency. He shall not receive or enter into any agreement, express or implied, for compensation for services to be rendered in relation to any matter before any municipal agency of which he is an officer, member or employee or of any municipal agency over which he has jurisdiction or to which he has the power to appoint any member, officer or employee.
Representation before any agency for a contingency fee. He shall not receive or enter into any agreement, express or implied, for compensation for services to be rendered in relation to any matter before any agency of his municipality, whereby his compensation is to be dependent or contingent upon any action by such agency with respect to such matter, provided that this subsection shall not prohibit the fixing at any time of fees based upon the reasonable value of the services rendered.
Disclosure of interest in legislation. To the extent that he knows thereof, a member of the Village Board and any officer or employee of the Village of Lancaster, whether paid or unpaid, who participates in the discussion or gives official opinion to the Village Board on any legislation before the Village Board shall publicly disclose on the official record the nature and extent of any direct or indirect financial or other private interest he has in such legislation.
Investments in conflict with official duties. He shall not invest or hold any investment, directly or indirectly, in any financial, business, commercial or other private transaction which creates a conflict of his official duties.
Private employment. He shall not engage in, solicit, negotiate for or promise to accept private employment or render services for private interest when such employment or service creates a conflict with or impairs the proper discharge of his official duties.
Future employment. He shall not, after termination of service or employment with such municipality, appear before any board or agency of the Village of Lancaster in relation to any case, proceeding or application in which he personally participated as a public officer or employee during the period of his service or employment or which was under his active consideration.
Use of Village property. He shall not use or permit the use of Village vehicles, equipment, materials, or property for the convenience or profit of himself or any other person.
Obligation to citizens.
He shall not use or attempt to use his official position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for himself or others or grant any special consideration, treatment or advantage to any citizen beyond that which is available to every other citizen.
He shall not by his conduct give reasonable basis for the impression that any person can unduly influence him or improperly enjoy his favor in the performance of his official duties, or that he is affected by the kinship, rank, position, or influence of any party or person.
Nothing herein shall be deemed to bar or prevent the timely filing, by a present or former municipal officer or employee, of any claim, account, demand or suit against the Village of Lancaster or any agency thereof on behalf of himself or any member of his family arising out of any personal injury or property damage or for any lawful benefit authorized or permitted by law.
The Mayor of the Village of Lancaster shall cause a copy of this Code of Ethics to be distributed to every officer and employee of the Village of Lancaster within 10 days after the effective date of this chapter. Each officer and employee elected or appointed thereafter shall be furnished a copy before entering upon the duties of his office or employment. Failure to distribute any such copy or failure of any officer or employee to receive such copy shall have no effect on the duty of compliance with such code or the enforcement of provisions thereof.
In accordance with § 806(3) of the General Municipal Law, the Village Clerk-Treasurer shall file, certified mail, return receipt requested, a certified copy of this Code of Ethics in the Office of the State Comptroller within 30 days of adoption or amendment of this chapter.
Any officer or employee who has, will have, or later acquires an interest in or whose spouse has, will have, or later acquires an interest in any actual or proposed contract, purchase agreement, lease agreement or other agreement, including oral agreements, with the municipality of which he is an officer or employee shall publicly disclose the nature and extent of such interest in writing to his immediate supervisor or to the governing body thereof as soon as he has knowledge of such actual or prospective interest. Such written disclosure shall be made part of and set forth in the official record of the proceedings of such body.
All employees and officers of the Village of Lancaster shall be required to file financial disclosure statements in the form and containing the information prescribed herein.
The completed financial disclosure statement shall contain the prescribed information with respect to each person covered by this chapter, as well as the spouse of the person and any unemancipated child of the person. For this purpose, "spouse" shall mean any individual married to (and not legally separated from) or living with the person required to file, and "unemancipated child" shall mean any son or daughter, any stepson or stepdaughter (with or without formal adoption), any foster child or any individual for whom the person required to file or such person's spouse serves as guardian who is unmarried, living in the home of the person required to file or living at school and claimed as an exemption on the federal income tax return of the person required to file or such person's spouse.
The form of the financial disclosure statement shall be made available by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lancaster.
Completed financial disclosure statements shall be filed with the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lancaster, which shall be the repository for such statements. The Board shall keep such statements separate from all other records under lock with access limited to Trustees, the Mayor, and the Village Attorney and/or special counsel to the Village.
Completed statements shall be filed by May 15 of each year, containing the prescribed information relating to the previous calendar year. New Village employees or officers hired between April 15 and December 31 shall file such statements within 30 days of the effective day of their employment/appointment. Extensions of time to file may be granted by the Board of Trustees upon written application of a person required to file showing justifiable cause or undue hardship, except that no extension shall be granted for longer than 60 days.
If a person required to file a financial disclosure statement with the commission has failed to file a disclosure statement or has filed a deficient statement, the Board of Trustees shall notify the reporting person in writing, state the failure to file or detail the deficiency, provide the person with a fifteen-day period to cure the deficiency, and advise the person of the penalties for failure to comply with the reporting requirements. Such notice shall be confidential.
The Village shall permit any person required to file a financial disclosure statement to apply, prior to the expiration of the time for filing or any extension thereof, for an exemption from any requirement to report one or more items of information which pertain solely to that person's spouse or unemancipated child, which item(s) may be exempted by the decision of a majority of the Board of Trustees that the item(s) of information have no material bearing on the discharge of the person's official duties.
Public inspection and copying of all records relating to this subsection shall be governed by the provisions and procedures of Article 6 of the Public Officers Law, except on filed statements of financial disclosure, categories of value, amounts of value, and any other item of information deleted by the Village Board upon the determination that the item(s) of information will have no material bearing upon the discharge of the person's official duties. In the event that an employee or officer's statement is requested pursuant to Article 6 of the Public Officers Law, the Village will notify that employee or officer prior to releasing the requested information and will allow that employee or officer 10 days to request the deletion of the item(s) of certain information from the statement by the Board of Trustees.
A person required to file a statement of financial disclosure who knowingly fails to file or who knowingly files a deficient statement or who knowingly and with intent to deceive reports false information significant in nature or amount on such statement may be subject to discipline, including removal, in a manner provided by law. Nothing contained herein shall preclude any criminal action or proceeding.
[Added 6-27-2016 by L.L. No. 5-2016]
A member of the Village Board of Trustees, on his or her own initiative, or, in the discretion of the member, in response to a request of another, may request an advisory legal opinion whether the past, present or proposed conduct of any individual violates the Code of Ethics set forth in this chapter. The request for an advisory opinion shall be in writing. Unless the Village Board determines that the inquiry shall be addressed to other counsel who shall be identified by the Village Board, the request shall be directed to the Village Attorney. Counsel to whom the request is directed may request information in addition to the particulars set forth within the written request and/or conduct further investigation. The advisory opinion shall be in writing. Unless an extension of time is granted by the Village Board or the member of the Village Board making such request, counsel shall provide his or her written advisory opinion within 30 days of receipt of the written request therefor.
[Added 8-22-2016 by L.L. No. 6-2016]
Members of the Village Board of Trustees, the Village Planning Board, the Village Zoning Board of Appeals, the Village Historic Preservation Commission, the Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chiefs and President of the Village of Lancaster Fire Department, the Village Clerk, the Superintendent of Public Works, the Village Attorney, the Deputy Village Attorney, the Village Code Enforcement Officer and all employees of the Village of Lancaster, including those employed at the office of the Village Clerk, the Department of Public Works and the Justice Court, excluding the Village Justice, shall, within 90 days of that person's installation, appointment or hire and thereafter annually within 90 days of the Village Board organizational meeting, complete, sign and deliver to the Village Clerk, in a format to be established by the Village Board, acknowledgment that he or she has reviewed, is familiar with, understands and shall comply with the provisions of the Village of Lancaster Code of Ethics.
In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law, any person who shall knowingly or intentionally violate any of the provisions of this chapter may be fined, suspended, or removed from office or employment, as the case may be, in the manner provided by law.