[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Allouez as § 2.06 of the Village Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The proper operation of democratic government requires that public officials be independent, impartial and responsible to the people; that government decisions and policy be made in proper channels of the governmental structure; that public office not be used for personal gain; and that the public have confidence in the integrity of its government. In recognition of these goals, there is hereby established a Code of Ethics for all Village of Allouez officials, employees, representatives and members of boards, committees, and commissions. 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 and by directing disclosure by such officials and employees of private financial or other interests in matters affecting the Village. The provisions and purpose of this code and such rules and regulations as may be established are hereby declared to be in the best interests of the Village of Allouez.
Elected officials 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 carry out impartially the laws of the nation, state and municipality, to observe in their official acts the highest standards of morality, and to discharge faithfully the duties of their office regardless of personal considerations, recognizing that the public interest must be their prime concern. Their conduct in both their official and private affairs should be above reproach so as to foster respect for all government.
All officials of the Village should be loyal to the objectives expressed by the electorate and the programs developed to attain these objectives. Appointed officials should adhere to the rules of work and performance established as the standard for their positions by the appropriate authority.
Officials 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 so doing by law or by officially recognized confidentiality of their work.
Use of public property. No official of the Village shall request or permit the unauthorized use of Village-owned vehicles, equipment, materials, or property for personal convenience or profit.
Obligations to citizens. No official of the Village shall grant any special consideration, treatment or advantage to any citizen beyond that which is available to every other citizen.
Financial and personal interest prohibited. No official of the Village shall engage in any act or transaction and no member of the Village Board shall vote on any legislation in which he or she shall have a financial or personal interest which shall be in conflict with the Village's interest, or which shall impair or tend to impair the proper performance of such person's duties to or on behalf of the Village, either directly or indirectly.
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- FINANCIAL INTEREST
- The following if owned, owed or received by any official, employee or a member of his or her immediate family:
- (1) Capital stock and/or any type of security in and of any corporation, which stock or security has a value of $10,000 or more, or which constitutes 5% or more of the outstanding stock or indebtedness.
- (2) Indebtedness to or from any person, in the amount of $10,000 or more, but excluding any mortgage of the official's or employee's principal residence, provided that the mortgage does not include other real estate.
- (3) Any interest in real estate, which interest has a value of $10,000 or more, or which constitutes 10% or more of the total interests, but excluding the official's or employee's principal residence.
- (4) Earned income of $1,000 or more.
- (5) Gifts of $50 or more received or promised during any one twelve-month period, excepting those gifts exempt in Subsection C(3) of this section.
- (6) Any interest in any sole proprietorship, partnership, joint venture, trust, association or other entity, which interest has a value of $10,000 or more, or which constitutes 5% or more of the total interests, if such entity has at any time within the last five years done or is now doing or is likely to do business or engage in any transaction with, or advocate a particular position to be taken by, the Village.
- MEMBER OF IMMEDIATE FAMILY
- The official's or employee's spouse and any relative by marriage, lineal descent or adoption who receives, directly or indirectly, more than 1/2 of his or her support from the official or employee, or from whom the official or employee receives, directly or indirectly, more than 1/2 of his or her support.
- The President, a Trustee, the Clerk-Treasurer, Deputy Clerk, Assessor, Building Inspector, Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, Administrator, Public Works Director, Fire Chief and Village Attorney.
- Any natural person, firm, corporation, association, partnership, and/or joint venture.
- PERSONAL INTEREST
- Any noneconomic interest referred to in § 19.44, Wis. Stats., and as the same may be amended from time to time.
- A person related by blood as a first cousin or closer in kinship; or a person related by blood to one's spouse as a first cousin or closer in kinship; or a person who through adoption is related to one's self or one's spouse as a first cousin or closer in kinship.
Specific conflicts enumerated.
Incompatible employment. No official shall engage in or accept private employment, or render service for private interest, when such employment or service is incompatible with the proper discharge of his or her official duties, or would tend to impair his or her independence of judgment or action in the performance of his or her official duties, unless otherwise permitted by law and unless disclosure is made as hereinafter provided.
Disclosure of confidential information. No official shall, without proper legal authorization, disclose confidential information concerning the property, government or affairs of the Village, nor shall he or she use such information to advance the financial or other private interest of himself or herself, or others.
Gifts and favors. No official shall accept any gift or gifts of a total value of more than $50 within any one calendar year, whether in the form of service, loan, thing, or promise, from any person who or which to his or her knowledge is interested, directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever in business dealings with the Village, nor shall any such official accept any gift, favor, or thing of value that may tend to influence such official in the discharge of his or her duties, or grant in the discharge of his or her duties any improper favor, service, or thing of value. Gifts received under unusual circumstances should be referred to the Ethics Board within 10 days for recommended disposition. It shall be presumed, however, that any gift or gifts received during any one calendar year of a total monetary value of less than $50.01 shall be deemed not sufficient to tend to influence the official in the discharge of his or her duties and shall not be reported. More than one gift of $50 or less to the same official from persons other than those related by blood or marriage, who have a business relationship with one another, and who have a common financial or personal interest, shall not be within that exception if the total of all gifts from all such persons shall have a value of more than $50. A gift or favor made or granted to a member of an official's immediate family shall be deemed made or granted to the official.
Representing private interests before Village agencies or the Court. No official shall appear on behalf of any private person, other than himself or herself, and his or her spouse or minor children, before any Village agency or the Municipal Court. However, a member of the Village Board may appear before Village agencies on behalf of his or her constituents in the course of his or her duties as a representative of the electorate or in the performance of public or civic obligations.
Employment of relatives. No official shall participate in a discussion or proceeding which is held for the purpose of interviewing and/or hiring a job applicant, setting the salary, duties and/or conditions or employment of a job applicant or any employee, or firing any employee who is a relative of such official. No official shall head a department which employs a relative. No employee shall work in a department which is headed by a relative. This subsection shall not be applicable to any meeting, discussion or proceeding which concerns salary, duties and/or conditions of employment which are, may be or shall be a part of any collective bargaining agreement.
Contracts with the Village. A Village official who in his or her capacity as such official participates in the making of a contract in which he or she has a private pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, or performs in regard to that contract some function requiring the exercise of discretion on his or her part, shall not enter into any contract with the Village unless in compliance with the provisions of § 946.13, Wis. Stats.:
Disclosure of interest in legislation. Any member of the Village Board who has a financial interest or personal interest in any proposed legislation before the Village Board shall disclose on the records of the Village Board, or of the Ethics Board, the nature and extent of such interest. Any other official who has a financial or personal interest in any proposed legislative action of the Village Board and who participates in discussion with or gives an official opinion or recommendation to the Village Board shall disclose on the records of the Village Board the nature and extent of such interest.
In addition to the financial and personal disclosures required by § 44-5E of this chapter, all officials of the Village and such other officers, representatives and employees as shall from time to time be designated by the Ethics Board shall file with the Village Clerk-Treasurer a statement of financial and/or personal interests within a time period specified by the Ethics Board. Individual members of boards, committees and commissions, including members of the Ethics Board, may be required to file a statement of financial and/or personal interest within a time period specified by the Ethics Board if the Ethics Board deems such statement is necessary in the evaluation of a formal written complaint charging any member of a board, committee or commission with a conflict of interest.
Within seven days after a person becomes a candidate for any elective Village office enumerated in Subsection A, or prior to appointment to such office, such person shall file a statement of financial and/or personal interest with the Village Clerk-Treasurer.
No person required to file a statement of interests under this section who has not complied with Subsection B shall have his or her name appear on the ballot, take the oath of office, or receive any salary or compensation until he or she files such statement of interests. The Village Clerk-Treasurer is directed to strike from the ballot the name of any candidate who has not complied with the provisions of Subsection B.
A person required to file a statement of financial and/or personal interests under this chapter shall file a written statement with the Village Clerk-Treasurer on a form prescribed by the Ethics Board and shall supply the following information:
The name and address of the person, his or her spouse and minor children, and all names they use in business and any professional practice.
All information required to be reported under the provisions of this chapter.
The names and addresses of the employers of the person and his or her spouse and a brief statement of the nature of the employment.
A description of all parcels of real estate within the Village and adjoining municipalities in which the person, his or her spouse and/or minor children own any interest, including an option to purchase.
Any license or permit issued by the Village to the person, his or her spouse and/or minor children, excluding licenses for pets and bicycles.
The Ethics Board shall elect its own Chairperson and Vice Chairperson and shall develop written rules of procedure which shall be submitted to the Village Board for approval.
The Ethics Board may make recommendations with respect to amendments to this chapter.
Upon the sworn written complaint of any person alleging facts which, if true, would constitute improper conduct under the provisions of this chapter, the Board shall conduct a hearing in accordance with all common law requirements of due process and, in written findings of fact and conclusions based thereon, make a determination concerning the propriety of the conduct of the subject official or employee and, if appropriate, refer the matter to the Village Board or other proper Village authority. The complaint shall be filed with the Village Clerk-Treasurer, except that if the complaint is of improper conduct of the Clerk-Treasurer, it shall be filed with the Village President. All such hearings thereon shall be held in open session, unless exempt under the provisions of § 19.85, Wis. Stats., or other provisions of law.
The provisions of Subsection D notwithstanding, all records of the Board's opinions, opinion requests and investigations of violations of this chapter shall be closed to public inspection, pursuant to the provisions of § 19.59(3)(d), Wis. Stats.
Upon the filing of a written complaint, the Village Clerk-Treasurer shall promptly forward to the Ethics Board a copy of the statement of financial and/or personal interests of each person who is complained about.
When an official or employee has doubt as to the applicability of a provision of this code to a particular situation or definition of terms used in the code he or she should apply to the Ethics Board for an advisory opinion and will be guided by that opinion when given. The official or employee shall have the opportunity to present his or her interpretation of the facts at issue and of the applicability of provisions of the code before such advisory decision is made. This code shall be operative in all instances covered by its provisions except when superseded by an applicable statutory provision and statutory action is mandatory, or when the application of a statutory provision is discretionary but determined by the Ethics Board to be more appropriate or desirable.
Violation of any provisions of this chapter may constitute a cause for suspension, removal from office or employment or other disciplinary action.