[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Blue Mounds as Ch. 4 of the 2001 Village Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Declaration of policy.
It is declared that high ethical standards among Village public officials and Village employees are essential to the conduct of free government. The Village Board believes that a Code of Ethics for the guidance of Village public officials and Village employees will help them avoid conflicts between their personal interests and their public responsibilities, will improve standards of public service and will promote and strengthen the faith and confidence of the people of this Village in their Village public officials and Village employees.
In recognition of these goals, there is hereby established a Code of Ethics for all Village of Blue Mounds officials and employees, whether elected or appointed, paid or unpaid, including members of boards, committees and commissions of the Village. The purpose of this code is to establish guidelines for ethical standards of conduct for all such officials and employees by setting forth those acts or actions that are incompatible with the best interests of the Village of Blue Mounds. The provisions and purposes of this code and such rules and regulations as may be established are hereby declared to be in the best interest of the Village of Blue Mounds.
Public officials and employees are agents of public purpose and hold office for the benefit of the public. They are bound to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this State and to carry out impartially the laws of the nation, state, and municipality and thus to foster respect for all government. They are bound to discharge faithfully the duties of their office regardless of personal considerations, recognizing that the public interest must be their primary concern.
In addition to the standards expressly set forth in this chapter, there are certain provisions of the Wisconsin Statutes which are an integral part of the Village's Code of Ethics. Accordingly, the provisions of the following sections of the Wisconsin Statutes, as may be amended, are incorporated and made a part of this Code of Ethics:
This chapter does not prevent any Village public official from accepting other employment or following any pursuit which in no way interferes with the faithful discharge of his or her duties to the Village. The Village Board recognizes that in a representative democracy, the representatives are drawn from society, and therefore, cannot and should not be without personal and economic interests in the decisions and policies of government; that citizens who serve as Village public officials retain their rights as citizens to interests of a personal or economic nature; that standards of ethical conduct for Village public officials need to distinguish between those minor and inconsequential conflicts that are unavoidable in a free society, and those conflicts which are substantial and material; and that Village public officials need to engage in employment, professional, personal or business activities, other than official duties, in order to support themselves or their families and to maintain a continuity of professional or business activity, or may need to maintain investments, which activities or investments do not conflict with specific provisions of this chapter.
Appointed officials and employees should adhere to the rules of work and performance established as the standard for their positions by the appropriate authority. Officials and employees should not exceed their authority or breach the law or ask others to do so, and they should work in full cooperation with other public officials and employees unless prohibited from doing so by law or by officially recognized confidentiality of their work.
Interest in appointments. Canvassing the members of the Village Board in order to obtain preferential consideration in connection with any appointment to the municipal civil service shall disqualify the candidate for appointment.
Use of public property. No official or employee shall request or permit the use of Village-owned vehicles, equipment, materials or property for personal convenience or profit, except when such services are available to the public generally and except where otherwise authorized by action of the Village Board.
Obligations to citizens. No official or employee shall grant any special consideration, treatment, or advantage to any citizen beyond that which is available to every other citizen.
Incompatible activities. No official or employee, whether paid or unpaid, shall engage in any business or transaction or shall have a financial or other personal interest, direct or indirect, which is incompatible with the proper discharge of official duties in the public interest. Personal as distinguished from financial interests include an interest arising from blood or marriage relationships or close business or political association. Specific conflicts of interest are enumerated below for the guidance of officials and employees:
Incompatible employment. No official or employee shall engage in or accept private employment or render service for private interests when such employment or service is incompatible with the proper discharge of official duties or would tend to impair independence of judgment or action in the performance of official duties. The Village Attorney, Municipal Court Judge, or any other legally qualified Village official or employee may engage in the private or public practice of law during the period in which they hold their respective offices.
Disclosure of confidential information. No official or employee shall, without proper legal authorization, disclose confidential information concerning the property, government, or affairs of the Village, nor shall such information be used to advance the financial or other private interest of the official, employee or others.
Gifts and favors. No official or employee shall accept any gift, whether in the form of service, loan, thing, or promise, from any person, firm, or corporation which to his or her knowledge is interested directly or indirectly in any manner whatsoever in business dealings with the Village. No Village public official or employee may use a public position or office to obtain financial gain or anything of substantial value for the private benefit of himself or herself or his or her immediate family or for an organization with which he or she has a financial interest.
Representing private interests before Village commissions, committees, or courts. No official or employee whose salary is paid in whole or in part by the Village shall appear on behalf of private interests before any Village Commission or Committee. He or she shall not represent private interests in any action or proceeding against the interest of the Village in any litigation to which the Village is a party. This subsection shall not be construed as prohibiting the appearance of officials or employees when subpoenaed as witnesses by parties involved in litigation which also may involve the Village of Blue Mounds. A Trustee may appear before Village agencies on behalf of constituents in the course of his or her duties as a representative of the electorate or in the performance of public or civic obligations. However, no Trustee or other official or employee shall accept a retainer or compensation that is contingent upon a specific action or decision by a Village agent.
Contracts with the Village. No Village public official or employee, member of his or her immediate family, nor any organization with which the Village public official and employee or a member of his or her immediate family owns or controls at least 10% of the outstanding equity, voting rights, or outstanding indebtedness may enter into any contract or lease involving a payment or payments of more than $15,000 within a twelve-month period, in whole or in part derived from Village funds unless the Village public official or employee has first made written disclosure of the nature and extent of such relationship or interest to the Board of Ethics and to the department acting for the Village in regard to such contract or lease. Said public official or employee shall refrain from voting upon or otherwise participating in the transaction or the making of such contract or sale. Any contract or lease entered into in violation of this subsection may be voided by the Village in an action commenced within three years of the date on which the Board of Ethics, or the department or officer acting for the Village in regard to the allocation of Village funds from which such payment is derived, knew or should have known that a violation of this subsection had occurred. This subsection does not affect the application of Wis. Stats. § 946.13.
No person employed with the Village shall, during the hours when on duty, engage in any form of political activity calculated to favor or improve the chances of any political party or any person or candidate seeking or attempting to hold political office, nor engage in any political activity when not on duty to such an extent that efficiency during working hours will be impaired or will result in being tardy or absent from work.
No person employed with the Village, or seeking employment therewith, shall be employed, promoted, demoted, or discharged, or in any way favored or discriminated against, because of political opinion or affiliation or because of age, race, color, religious belief, handicap, marital status, sex, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, or arrest or conviction record.
No person employed by the Village shall use an official title or job designation to favor or improve the chances of any political candidate or any person seeking or attempting to hold political office.
Police officers shall observe strictly the applicable rules of the Police Department relating to political activity, providing such rules pertain only to hours on duty.
No person holding a position in the Police Department shall use an official title or a job designation in the form of any political activity calculated to favor or improve the chances of any political candidate or any person seeking or attempting to hold political office.
All officials and employees. No official or employee, whether elected or appointed, shall promise employment in any municipal position as a reward for any political activity.
A Village President or trustee who has a financial or other private interest in any legislation or matter shall disclose on the records of the Village Board the nature and extent of such interest. A Village President or trustee shall voluntarily disqualify from voting if the matter under consideration involves personal or financial interests to the extent that such interests conflict with official duties or would impair independence of judgment.
Any other officials or employees who have a financial or other private interest, and who participates in discussion with or gives an official opinion to the Board, shall disclose on the records of the Village Board the nature and extent of such interest.
Any person having concerns or complaints related to this Ethics Ordinance can bring them to the Village Board for remedy or sanction. Prior to imposing a remedy or sanction, the Village Board shall consider the complaint and provide an opportunity to be heard to the person against whom the complaint is made. Remedies or sanctions that may be imposed by the Village Board include, but are not necessary limited to, a reprimand or other disciplinary action (up to and including termination or removal from office, where appropriate), and/or imposition of a fine up to $1,000 per offense.
In this chapter, the following terms shall have the meaning indicated:
- ANY THING OF VALUE
- Any money or property, favor, service, payment, advance, forbearance, loan, or promise of future employment, but does not include compensation and expenses paid by the Village, fees honorariums and expenses which are permitted and reported under Wis. Stats., § 19.56, political contributions which are reported under Wis. Stats. Ch. 11, or hospitality extended for a purpose unrelated to Village business by a person other than an organization.
- When used with reference to an organization, includes any organization in which a person or a member of his or her immediate family is a director, officer or trustee, or owns or controls, directly or indirectly, and severally or in the aggregate, at least 10% of the outstanding equity.
- CANDIDATE FOR PUBLIC OFFICE
- Any person who files nomination papers and a declaration under Wis. Stats., Ch. 8, for the purpose of appearing on the ballot for election as a Village public official or any person nominated for the purpose of appearing on the ballot for election as a Village public official through the write in process and who files a declaration under Wis. Stats., Ch. 8.
- The payment or receipt of anything of value without valuable consideration.
- Has the meaning given under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.
- MINISTERIAL ACTION
- An action that a person performs in a given state of facts in a prescribed manner in obedience to the mandate of legal authority, without regard to the exercise of the person's own judgment as to the propriety of the action being taken.
- Any person who is nominated by the Village President for appointment to a Village public office and whose nomination requires the confirmation of the Village Board.
- Any corporation, partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, trust, self-employed individual or other legal entity which engages in profit-making activities.
- VILLAGE PUBLIC OFFICE
- All officers of the Village of Blue Mounds established pursuant to Wis. Stats., Ch. 61, who are elected by the voters or appointed by the Village President and confirmed by the Village Board.
- VILLAGE PUBLIC OFFICIAL
- Any person holding a Village public office.