[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Verona 1-4-2017. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: The effective date of this Code of Ethics is March 1, 2017.
No official may take action that provides a financial or other personal benefit to the official, immediate family, customers, clients, an employer, or a person who has made campaign contributions to the official within a twelve-month period.
Note: "Official" includes elected officials and employees.
An official must avoid circumstances that compromise his ability to make decisions solely in the public interest or create an appearance of impropriety.
An official must recuse himself/herself when faced with the above conflicts. Recusal means that the official may not deliberate, vote or participate in any way in that matter. The official should disclose his/her conflict and remove him or herself from the Board. He/she should provide input regarding the matter from the audience in his/her capacity as a member of the public.
No official may use Town of Verona (Town-owned) property, assets or any resources for personal purposes or profit or to benefit any person. Use of these resources is restricted to the conduct of official business, for the benefit of all residents and to further an authorized public purpose.
No official, either individually or as a member of a Board (Town Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board, etc.), may participate in any decision specifically to appoint, hire, promote, and/or discipline an immediate relative (spouse, mother, father, son, daughter) for any position at, for or within the Town of Verona, or within a Board. Effective March 1, 2017, no official or employee may supervise an immediate relative (spouse, mother, father, son, daughter) in the performance of the relative's official powers or duties. NOTE: Employees hired before March 1, 2017 are exempt from this.
An official may not solicit any gift nor may he/she receive any gift, whether financial or in any other form from any person who is doing or seeking to do business of any kind with the Town, including applications for permits or approvals; has done business with the Town during the last 12 months; or from a lobbyist representing a person before a Town agency. An official may not solicit or receive any gift or payment as a reward for exercise of official duties. Generally, an official may not receive or solicit any gift, creating the appearance that his/her official duties may be influenced or that his/her responsibility to make impartial decisions solely in the public interest is compromised.
Note: Excluding gifts less than $25 in value; from family members; attendance at local social events, such as holiday festivities; benefits available to the general public; functions that officials routinely attend, such as Chamber of Commerce events; and an event or activity fulfilling a public purpose.
An official shall not solicit, negotiate for or commit to accept private employment from any person doing business with or having any matter pending with the Town.
An official shall not appear on behalf of or represent a person in any matter before a municipal agency except on his own behalf.
An official or former official may not disclose confidential information or use it to further his/her or another person's private interests or in any way utilize the information for nonpublic purposes.
No official shall solicit political contributions from subordinates or request that they attend political functions or engage in any political activity.
No official who has left Town service shall appear before or receive compensation in a matter before his/her former department for a period of one year after departure. He/she is permanently barred from appearing or receiving compensation regarding a matter he/she was personally involved in as a Town official.
An official is prohibited from holding more than one position with the Town when the duties of the positions conflict.
When a violation or concern about a violation of the Town's Code of Ethics arises, the Town Board should be notified within one day of said violation occurrence. If there's uncertainty as to whether a violation has occurred, a letter can be filed with the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), 540 Broadway, Albany, NY 12207. Additionally, an inquiry to JCOPE can be submitted by phone, too. JCOPE's phone number is (518) 408-3976. JCOPE's website is: www.jcope.ny.gov.
Each municipal official shall receive training annually concerning the requirements of the Town's Code of Ethics and the procedure for seeking an opinion or investigation by JCOPE. Copies of the code and amendments to the code shall be provided to all officials. Additionally, an overview of ethics is required to be completed on an annual basis. This can be completed at http://www.goer.state.ny.us/Training Development/Online Learning/ethics/blackout/index.html.