[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Kronenwetter 4-14-2015 by Ord. No. 15-01. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The proper operation of democratic government requires that public officials and employees be 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 Kronenwetter officials and employees, whether elected or appointed, paid or unpaid, including members of boards, committees and commissions of the Village, as well as any individuals who are candidates for elective office as soon as such individuals file nomination papers with the Village.
The purpose of this Ethics 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 Kronenwetter and by directing disclosure by such officials and employees of private financial or other interests in matters affecting the Village. The Village Board believes that a Code of Ethics for the guidance of elected and appointed officials and 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 citizens of this Village in their elected and appointed officials and employees. The Village Board hereby reaffirms that each elected and appointed Village official and employee holds his or her position as a public trust, and any intentional effort to realize substantial personal gain through official conduct is a violation of that trust. The provisions and purpose of this Ethics Code and such rules and regulations as may be established are hereby declared to be in the best interests of the Village of Kronenwetter.
The following definitions shall be applicable in this Code:
- ANYTHING OF VALUE
- Any gift, favor, loan, service having a value of more than $25 or promise of future employment, but does not include reasonable fees and honorariums, or the exchange of seasonal, anniversary or customary gifts among relatives and friends.
- Any corporation, partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, organization, self-employed individual or any other legal entity which engages in profit-making activities.
- FINANCIAL INTEREST
- Any interest which shall yield, directly or indirectly, a monetary or other material benefit to the officer or employee or to any person employing or retaining the services of the officer or employee.
- PERSONAL INTEREST
- The following specific blood or marriage relationships:
- PUBLIC EMPLOYEE
- Any person excluded from the definition of a public official who is employed by the Village.
- PUBLIC OFFICIAL
- Those persons serving in elected or appointed offices and all members appointed to boards, committees and commissions established or appointed by the President and/or Village Board, whether paid or unpaid.
- SIGNIFICANT INTEREST
- Owning or controlling, directly or indirectly, at least 10% or $5,000 of the outstanding stock of any business.
There are certain provisions of the Wisconsin Statutes which should, while not set forth herein, be considered an integral part of any Code of Ethics. Accordingly, the provisions of the following sections of the Wisconsin Statutes, as from time to time amended, are made a part of this Code of Ethics and shall apply to public officials and employees whenever applicable, to wit:
Section 946.10. Bribery of public officers and employees.
Section 946.11. Special privileges from public utilities.
Section 946.12. Misconduct in public office.
Section 946.13. Private interest in public contract prohibited.
Section 946.14. Purchasing claims at less than full value.
Section 946.15. Public construction contracts at less than full rate.
Section 946.16. Judicial officer collecting claims.
Section 946.17. Corrupt means to influence legislation; disclosure of interest.
Section 946.18. Misconduct sections apply to all public officers.
Section 19.41 et. seq., Code of Ethics for Public Officials and Employees.
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 carry out impartially the laws of the nation, state and municipality, to observe in their official acts the highest standards and to discharge faithfully the duties of their office regardless of personal consideration, recognizing that the public interest must be their prime concern.
Officials and employees shall adhere to the rules of work and performance established as the standard for their positions by the appropriate authority. Officials and employees shall not exceed their authority or breach the law or ask others to do so, and they shall 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. Members of the Village staff are expected to follow their appropriate professional code of ethics.
Use of public property. No official or employee shall use or permit the unauthorized use of Village-owned vehicles, equipment, materials or property for personal convenience or profit, except when such services are available to the public generally or are provided as Village policy for the use of such official or employee in the conduct of official business, as authorized by the Village Board or authorized board, commission or committee.
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. No official or employee shall use or attempt to use his or her position with the Village to secure any advantage, preference or gain, over and above his or her rightful remuneration and benefits, for himself or herself or for a member of his or her immediate family.
Political contributions. No official shall personally solicit from any Village employee, other than an elected official, a contribution to a political campaign committee for which the person subject to this code is a candidate or treasurer.
Financial and personal interest prohibited.
No official or employee of the Village, whether paid or unpaid, shall engage in any business or transaction or shall act in regard to financial or other personal interest, direct or indirect, which is incompatible with the proper discharge of official duties in the public interest contrary to the provisions of this code or which would tend to impair independence of judgment or action in the performance of official duties.
It is the position of the Village Board that no member of the Village Board should also be paid wages as an employee of the Village.
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 the nature and extent of such interest; such official shall not participate in debate or vote for adoption or defeat of such legislation. If the matter before the Board involves a member's personal interest with persons involved, the member may participate in debate or discussion and vote on the matter following disclosure, unless an ordinance or contract is involved; if an ordinance or contract is involved, such official shall not participate in debate or discussion and vote on the matter.
Any nonelected official, other than a Village employee, who has a financial interest or personal interest in any proposed legislative action of the Village Board or any board, commission or committee upon which the official has any influence or input or of which the official is a member that is to make a recommendation or decision upon any item which is the subject of the proposed legislative action shall disclose on the records of the Village Board or the appropriate board, commission or committee the nature and extent of such interest. Such official shall not participate in debate or discussion or vote for adoption or defeat of such legislation.
Any Village employee who has a financial interest or personal interest in any proposed legislative action of the Village Board or any board, commission or committee upon which the employee has any influence or input, or of which the employee is a member, that makes recommendations or decisions upon any item which is the subject of the proposed legislative action shall disclose on the records of the Village Board or the appropriate board, commission or committee the nature and extent of such interest.
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 interests of the official or employee or others.
Gifts and favors.
No official or employee, personally or through a member of his or her immediate family, may solicit or accept, either directly or indirectly, from any person or organization, money or anything of value if it could be expected to influence the employee's official actions or judgments or be considered a reward for any action or inaction on the part of the official or employee.
No official or employee, personally or through a member of his or her immediate family, shall accept any gift, whether in the form of money, service, loan, thing or promise, from any person which may tend to impair his or her independence of judgment or action in the performance of his or her duties or grant in the discharge of his or her duties any improper favor, service or thing of value. However, it is not a conflict of interest for any public official or employee to receive a gift or gratuity that is an unsolicited item of nominal intrinsic value such as a meal, and that is not intended to influence the official. Any official or employee who receives, directly or indirectly, any gift or gifts from any person who is known by said official or employee to be interested, directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever in business dealings with the Village upon which the official or employee has any influence or input or over which the official or employee has any jurisdiction, discretion or control shall disclose the nature and value of such gifts to the Village Board by January 15 next following the year in which the gift or gifts are received.
An official or employee is not to accept hospitality if, after consideration of the surrounding circumstances, it could reasonably be concluded that such hospitality would not be extended were it not for the fact that the guest, or a member of the guest's immediate family, was a Village official or employee. Participation in celebrations, grand openings, open houses, informational meetings and similar events are excluded from this prohibition. This subsection further shall not be construed to prevent candidates for elective office from accepting hospitality from citizens for the purpose of supporting the candidate's campaign.
Gifts received by an official or employee or his or her immediate family under unusual circumstances shall be referred to the Village Board within 10 days of receipt for recommended disposition. Any person subject to this code who becomes aware that he is or has been offered any gift, the acceptance of which would constitute a violation of this subsection, shall, within 10 days, disclose the details surrounding said offer to the Village Board. Failure to comply with this reporting requirement shall constitute an offense under this code.
Representing private interests before Village agencies or courts.
Nonelected Village officials and employees shall not appear on behalf of any private person (other than himself or herself, his or her spouse or minor children) before any Village agency, board, commission or the Village Board if the official or employee or any board, commission or committee of which the official or employee is a member has any jurisdiction, discretion or control over the matter which is the subject of such representation.
Elected Village officials may appear before Village agencies on behalf of constituents in the course of their duties as representatives of the electorate or in the performance of public or civic obligations. However, the disclosure requirements of Subsection A above shall be applicable to such appearances.
Ad hoc committee exceptions. No violation of the conflict of interest restrictions of this Section shall exist, however, where an individual serves on a special ad hoc committee charged with the narrow responsibility of addressing a specific issue or topic in which that individual, or the employer or a client of that individual, has an interest so long as the individual discloses to the Village Board that such interest exists.
Contracts with the Village. No Village official or employee who, in his or her capacity as such officer or employee, participates in the making of a contract in which he has a private pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, or performs in regard to that contract with some function requiring the exercise of discretion on his or her part shall enter into any contract with the Village unless, within the confines of § 946.13, Wis. Stats.
The contract is awarded through a process of public notice and competitive bidding or the Village Board waives the requirement of this Section after determining that it is in the best interest of the Village to do so.
The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to the designation of a public depository of public funds.
The Ethics Board shall consist of five members. The membership of the Ethics Board shall consist of four citizens and one Board member. The Village attorney shall furnish the Board any legal assistance necessary to carry out its functions.
Ethics Board members shall be appointed by the President, subject to confirmation by the Board. Initial terms of office shall be one citizen shall be appointed for two years, one citizen will be appointed for one year, and two citizens will be appointed for three years. Thereafter all terms shall be three years. Terms begin May 1 of the respective year. Each year the President will appoint the Board member following the election.
The Ethics Board shall elect its own Chair and Vice Chair and shall develop written rules of procedure which shall be submitted to the Board for approval. Any changes to written rules and procedures shall be submitted to the Board for approval on an annual basis.
The Ethics Board shall make recommendations to the Village Board with respect to amendments of this Code of Ethics.
Upon the sworn complaint of any person alleging facts which, if true, would constitute improper conduct under the provisions of this section, the Ethics Board shall conduct a public 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 official or employee and, if appropriate, refer the matter to the Board or other proper Village authority with a recommendation for action.
The Village Clerk shall cause a copy of this Code of Ethics to be distributed to every public official and employee of the Village within 30 days after enactment of this chapter. Each public official and employee elected, appointed or engaged thereafter shall be furnished a copy before entering upon his or her duties.
Each public official, president, the chairman of each board, commission or committee and through the Village Administrator, the head of each department, shall, between May 1 and May 31 each year, review the provisions of this code with their fellow board members or board, commission, committee members or subordinates, as the case may be, and certify to the Village Clerk by June 15 that such annual review had been undertaken. A notice of this Ethics Code shall be continuously posted on the Village bulletin boards wherever situated.
Each public official and employee shall, in connection with Subsections A and B above, also complete and file with the Village Clerk, as appropriate, the following statement of understanding:
"I have read and understand the contents of the Village of Kronenwetter Ethics Code, including the attached State statutes.* I also understand that I am expected to adhere to and conduct myself according to rules, guidance and direction as set forth in the Ethics Code." (*§§ 946.10 through 946.18; and § 19.41 et seq., Wis. Stats.)
In the event an employee, covered under a collective bargaining agreement, is allegedly involved in an Ethics Code violation, the terms and conditions set forth in the applicable collective bargaining agreement shall prevail in the administration and interpretation of this Ethics Code.
A determination that an employee's actions constitute improper conduct under the provisions of this code may constitute a cause of suspension, removal from office or employment or other disciplinary action. Sanctions, including any disciplinary action that may affect employees covered under a labor agreement, will be consistent with the terms and conditions set forth in the applicable labor agreement.
When an ethics complaint has been filed against a police officer or firefighter or the Chief of either the Police or Fire Department, the procedure shall be performed in accordance with the provisions of § 62.13, Wis. Stats.
Violation of any provision of this code should raise conscientious questions for the incumbent concerned as to whether voluntary resignation or other action is indicated to promote the best interests of the Village of Kronenwetter. For nonelected officials or Village employees, violation may constitute a cause for suspension, removal from office or employment, or other disciplinary action. As an alternative or an addition to the sanctions imposed herein, any person violating the provisions of this sanction shall be subject to a nonreimbursable forfeiture of not less than $100 nor more than $500.