[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Hamlin 12-28-1970 (Ch. 10 of the 1987 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Defense and indemnification — See Ch. 24.
This chapter shall be known and cited as the "Code of Ethics of the Town of Hamlin."
[Amended 5-19-1987 by L.L. No. 3-1987]
The Town Board of the Town of Hamlin recognizes that there are state statutory provisions mandating towns to establish rules and standards of ethical conduct for public officers and employees which, if observed, can enhance public confidence in local government. In the light of a tendency today on the part of some people to downgrade our local governments and to discredit our public servants and our free institutions generally, it appears necessary that every effort be made to assure the highest caliber of public administration of this Town as part of our state's important system of local government. It is the purpose of this chapter to implement this objective through the establishment of standards of conduct and to provide for punishment of violation of such standards.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any board, commission, district, council or other agency, department or unit of the government of the Town of Hamlin.
- TOWN EMPLOYEE
- Any officer or employee of the Town of Hamlin, whether paid
or unpaid, whether serving in a full-time, part-time or advisory capacity.
No person shall be deemed to be a Town employee solely by reason of
being a volunteer fireman or civil defense volunteer, except a fire
chief or assistant fire chief.[Amended 5-19-1987 by L.L. No. 3-1987]
The standards, prohibited acts and procedures established herein are in addition to any prohibited acts, conflicts of interest provisions or procedures prescribed by statute of the State of New York and also in addition to common law rules and judicial decisions relating to the conduct of Town officers to the extent that the same are more severe in their application than this chapter.
No Town employee shall have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage in any business or transaction or professional activity or incur any obligation of any nature which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his duties in the public interest.
No Town employee shall accept other employment which will impair his independence of judgment in the exercise of his official duties.
No Town employee shall accept employment or engage in any business or professional activity which will require him to disclose confidential information which he has gained by reason of his official position or authority.
No Town employee shall use or attempt to use his official position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for himself or others.
No Town employee shall engage in any transaction as representative or agent of the Town with any business entity in which he has a direct or indirect financial interest that might reasonably tend to conflict with the proper discharge of his official duties.
A Town employee shall not, by his conduct, give reasonable basis for the impression that any person can improperly influence him or unduly enjoy his favor in the performance of his official duties or that he is affected by the kinship, rank or influence of any party or person.
Each Town employee shall abstain from making personal investments in enterprises which he has reason to believe may be directly involved in decisions to be made by him or which will otherwise create substantial conflict between his duty in the public interest and his private interest.
Each Town employee shall endeavor to pursue a course of conduct which will not raise suspicion among the public that he is likely to be engaged in acts that are in violation of his trust.
No Town employee employed on a full-time basis nor any firm or association of which such employee is a member nor corporation a substantial portion of the stock of which is owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by such employee shall sell goods or services to any person, firm, corporation or association which is licensed or whose rates are fixed by the Town in which such employee serves or is employed.
No Town employee shall, directly or indirectly, solicit any gift or accept or receive any gift having 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 be reasonably inferred that the gift was intended to influence him in the performance of his official duties or was intended as a reward for any official action on his part.
To the extent that he knows thereof, a member of the Town Board and any employee of the Town, whether paid or unpaid, who participates in the discussion of or gives official opinion to the Town Board on any legislation before said 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.
[Added 5-19-1987 by L.L. No. 3-1987]
A Town employee shall not, after the termination of service or employment with such municipality, appear before any board or agency of the Town in relation to any case, proceeding or application in which he personally participated during the period of his service or employment or which was under his active consideration.
[Added 5-19-1987 by L.L. No. 3-1987]
In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law, any such Town employee who shall knowingly and intentionally violate any of the provisions of this chapter may be fined, suspended or removed from office or employment in the manner provided by law.
Editor's Note: Original Art. IV, Board of Ethics, which immediately followed this section, was deleted 5-19-1987 by L.L. No. 3-1987.
[Added 6-11-2001; amended 12-10-2007 by L.L. No. 14-2007]
Establishment. There is hereby established a Board of Ethics to consist of five members who shall serve without compensation.
Appointment of members.
Nominating committee. The Town Board shall, within 60 days from the effective date of this section, appoint a committee of not fewer than seven residents to nominate, for consideration by the Town Board, individuals to serve on the Board of Ethics. The Town Board shall endeavor to select a committee of respected residents that is bipartisan or nonpartisan. The nominating committee shall consist of an odd number of members, but not fewer than three nor more than seven. The committee shall submit a list of prospective candidates to the Town Board for its consideration. The committee may nominate any number of individuals for the Town Board's consideration, provided that such number shall not be less than twice the number of vacancies to be filled. Members of the committee shall be appointed annually.
Town officer or employee member. The requirement set forth in § 808, Subdivision 3, of the General Municipal Law that at least one member of the Board of Ethics be an elected or appointed officer of the Town shall not apply to the Board of Ethics. A Town officer or employee is eligible to serve on the Board of Ethics, but there is no requirement that the Board of Ethics include such an officer or employee as a member.
Terms of office of members first appointed. In the creation of a new Board of Ethics, the appointment of members to the Board shall be for terms so fixed that one member's term shall expire at the end of the calendar year in which such members were initially appointed. The remaining members' terms shall be so fixed that one member's term shall expire at the end of each year thereafter. At the expiration of each original member's appointment, the replacement member shall be appointed for a term which will be equal in years to the number of members of the Board. No individual shall serve more than one five-year term, but an individual appointed for less than a five-year term is eligible to serve one full five-year term upon the expiration of his initial term.
Vacancy in office. If a vacancy shall occur other than by expiration of term, the Town Board shall appoint a new member for the balance of the unexpired term. Such new member shall be elected from a list of prospective candidates provided by the nominating committee.
Powers and duties.
The Board of Ethics shall have the powers and duties prescribed by Article 18 of the General Municipal Law and shall render advisory opinions to the officers and employees of the Town of Hamlin with respect to Article 18 of the General Municipal Law and the Code of Ethics of the Town of Hamlin. The Town Board may direct specific requests for advisory opinions to the Ethics Board.
The Board may also, on its own initiative or on the initiative of its own members, consider any complaint or allegation of conflict of interest on the part of any officer or employee of the Town of Hamlin. All such complaints or allegations are to be kept in the confidential records of the Board. Should the Board determine that there is apparent merit in the complaint or allegation, it shall send a written invitation to the officer or employee so charged to appear at a private meeting of the Board and explain the apparent conflict of interest. Should such officer or employee fail to appear in response to such invitation or should he appear and fail to satisfy the Board that there is no conflict of interest, the Board shall send a written report on the matter to the Town Supervisor. The report shall not be made public except by the Town Supervisor or by the unanimous vote of the Town Board.
In addition, the Board may make recommendations with respect to the drafting and adoption of amendments to the Code of Ethics of the Town of Hamlin.
Meetings; rules and regulations; records. The Board shall hold an annual organizational meeting, at which time the members shall elect a Chairperson, and shall promulgate its own rules and regulations as to its forms and procedures. Copies of all rules and regulations promulgated by the Board and any and all amendments thereto which may be adopted from time to time shall be filed with the Town Clerk. The Board shall maintain a record of its opinions and proceedings.
Upon the adoption of this chapter, the Town Supervisor shall cause a copy thereof to be distributed to every Town employee of this Town. Failure to distribute any such copy or failure of any Town employee to receive such copy shall have no effect on the duty of compliance with this code, nor the enforcement of provisions hereof.
The Town Supervisor shall cause a copy of this chapter to be kept posted conspicuously in each public building under the jurisdiction of the Town. Failure to so post this chapter shall have no effect on the duty of compliance herewith, nor the enforcement of provisions hereof.
Within 30 days after the adoption of this chapter, the Town Clerk shall file a copy thereof in the office of the State Comptroller.