[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Burlington by Ord. No. 8-1997 (Ch. 2.80 of the 1996 Municipal Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The public judges its government by the way public officials conduct themselves in the posts to which they are elected or appointed.
The people have a right to expect that every public official will conduct himself/herself in a manner that will tend to preserve public confidence in, and respect for, the government he/she represents.
Such confidence and respect can best be promoted if every public official, whether paid or unpaid, and whether elected or appointed, will uniformly:
One of the objectives of the code is to help public officials achieve these goals.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any person employed by the City or its utilities and listed on the City or utility payroll either on a full-time, part-time or temporary basis.
- FINANCIAL INTEREST
- Any interest which shall yield, directly or indirectly, a monetary or other material benefit, other than the duly authorized salary or compensation for services to the City, to the official or to any person employing or retaining the services of the official.
- Any person, other than a City employee, elected, appointed to or retained as a professional advisor by any public office or public body of the City, whether paid or unpaid and whether part-time or full-time.
- PERSONAL INTEREST
- Any interest arising from blood or marriage relationships or from close business or association whether or not any financial interest is involved.
- PUBLIC BODY
- Any agency, board, body, commission, committee, department or office of the City.
Impartiality. No official or employee shall grant or make available to any person any consideration, treatment, advantage or favor beyond that which it is the general practice to grant or make available to the public at large.
Use of public property. No official or employee shall request, use or permit the use of any publicly owned or publicly supported property, vehicle, equipment, labor or service for the personal convenience or the private advantage of himself/herself or any other person. This rule shall not be deemed to prohibit an official or employee from requesting, using or permitting the use of such publicly owned or publicly supplied property, vehicle, equipment, material, labor or service which it is the general practice to make available to the public at large or which are provided as a matter of stated public policy for the use of officials and employees in the conduct of official business.
Disclosure and disqualification. Whenever the performance of his/her official duties requires any official, advisor or employee to deliberate, act or vote on any matter involving his/her own financial or personal interest, he/she shall publicly disclose the nature and extent of such interest and disqualify himself/herself from participating in any discussion or decision. He/she shall physically remove himself/herself from public or private deliberations or voting, and shall not take an action in his/her capacity as a City official, advisor or employee relating to such matter.
Representation of private persons. No official or employee shall appear on behalf of or represent any private person other than himself/herself or a corporation or entity by whom he/she is employed and from whom he/she receives more than 50% of his/her annual income before any public body in the City.
Gifts and favors. No official or employee shall accept any gift, whether in the form of money, thing, favor, loan or promise, intended to influence any official action.
No official, advisor or employee shall, without prior formal authorization of the public body having jurisdiction, disclose any confidential information concerning any other official or employee to any other person or property in the City or the governmental affairs of the City.
Whether or not it involves disclosure, no official shall use or permit the use of any such confidential information to advance the financial or personal interest of himself/herself or any other person or entity.
Upon the complaint of any person alleging facts which, if true, would constitute improper conduct under the provisions of this chapter, the Council, or its duly designated agent, shall conduct a full investigation to determine whether there are sufficient facts supportive of the complaint to warrant a public or private hearing. In the event the Council finds that probable cause exists, it shall at once notify and serve a copy of the complaint upon the accused person. Such accused person shall have the option of having either a public or private hearing before the Council. In the event a private hearing is conducted and the accused person is found guilty, such person may request a public hearing to be held before the Council in accord with all the requirements of due process of law, at the end of which the Council shall make written findings of fact and conclusions based thereon concerning the propriety of the conduct of the official advisor or employee complained of.
In the event the Council makes a determination that the conduct of any official advisor or employee was improper under the provisions of § 33-5, it shall take such action for censure, suspension or removal from office or employment as it deems appropriate.
None of the provisions of this chapter shall operate or be construed to violate any state statutes or valid collective bargaining agreements. Such statutes and agreements containing provisions which are contrary to §§ 3-5 and 33-6 shall not be affected thereby, but the provisions of §§ 3-5 and 33-6 shall remain effective and be applicable to all officials, advisors and employees not governed by such contrary provisions of state statutes or collective bargaining agreements.