[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Bridgman 12-15-2008 by Ord. No. 174. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The citizens of Bridgman are entitled to have fair, ethical and accountable local government that has earned the public's full confidence for integrity.
Furthermore, the effective functioning of democratic government requires that public officials comply with both the letter and spirit of the laws and policies affecting the operations of government; public officials be independent, impartial and fair in their judgment and actions; public office be used for the public good, not for personal gain; and public deliberations and processes be conducted openly, unless legally confidential, in an atmosphere of respect and civility.
To this end, the Bridgman City Council adopts this Code of Ethics for Bridgman City officials to assure public confidence in the integrity of local government and its effective and fair operation.
As used in this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings:
- APPOINTED PERSONS
- A person selected and installed in an office or position at the City of Bridgman by the Mayor, Manager, and/or City Council, including but not limited to the Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Board of Review.
- Someone who seeks or who has been proposed for an office, position, or award.
- The City of Bridgman.
- CITY OFFICIALS
- All candidates, appointed persons, and any other person elected to any position at the City of Bridgman, including but not limited to the City Council members, subordinate boards and committees of the City Council. This definition does not include a volunteer not appointed or elected to office.
- The City Council of the City of Bridgman.
- Chosen by the eligible voters of the City.
- A person working for the City for wages, salary, or other benefits and under the control and supervision of the City as to hours, work standards, and rules of work, etc.
- FAMILY MEMBER
- Spouse, child, or any family members within the second degree of consanguinity to the City official or the City official's spouse.
All words not otherwise defined in this section shall be presumed to have their ordinary dictionary meaning.
Recognizing that stewardship of the public interest must be their primary concern, City officials will work for the common good of the people of Bridgman and not for any private or personal interest, and they will assure fair and equal treatment of all persons, claims, and transactions coming before the City.
City officials shall comply with the laws of the nation, the State of Michigan, and the City of Bridgman in the performance of their public duties. These laws include, but are not limited to: the United States and Michigan constitutions; the Bridgman City Charter; laws pertaining to conflicts of interest, contracts with public entities, election campaigns, financial disclosures, employer responsibilities, and open processes of government; and City ordinances and policies.
City officials shall perform their duties in accordance with the processes and rules of order established by the City Council and the City Charter governing the deliberation of public policy issues, meaningful involvement of the public, and implementation of policy decisions of the City Council by City staff.
City officials shall prepare themselves for public issues, listen courteously and attentively to all public discussions before the body, and focus on the business at hand. They shall refrain from interrupting other speakers, making comments not germane to the business of the body, or otherwise interfering with the orderly conduct of meetings.
City officials shall publicly share substantive information that is relevant to a matter under consideration, which they may have received from sources outside of the public decisionmaking process.
A City official, in the performance of his or her public duties, shall not act upon any matter in which they have a material financial interest, or where they have a legal or fiduciary duty to another organization or entity or personal relationship that may give the appearance of a conflict of interest, without disclosing the full nature and extent of the interest to the other members of the City Council on the official record. Such disclosure must be made before the time to perform their duty or concurrently with the performance of the duty.
The disclosure required by this subsection shall not supplant, but instead shall supplement, any disclosure of a personal, contractual, financial, business, employment or pecuniary interest required by state statute.
City officials should refrain from financial and business dealings that would tend to reflect adversely on the officials' impartiality, interfere with the performance of their public duties or exploit their official position. City officials should not take any special advantage of services, goods or opportunity for personal gain that is not available to the public in general.
City officials and any family member claimed as a dependent of the official shall refrain from soliciting or accepting any gifts, loans or favors, except that an official and a family member claimed as a dependent of the official may:
Accept a gift or honorarium, not exceeding a value of $100, for services rendered in the performance of their public duties or other activity devoted to the improvement of cities, communities and the lives of citizens.
Accept ordinary social hospitality; a gift, bequest, favor or loan from a relative; a wedding or engagement gift; a loan in the regular course of business from a lending institution on the same terms as generally available to the public; and a scholarship, grant or fellowship awarded on the same terms as applied to other applicants.
Accept any other gift, favor or loan only if the donor is not a person or entity whose interests have come or are likely to come before the City.
Solicit and accept campaign contributions.
City officials shall respect the confidentiality of information concerning the property, personnel or affairs of the City. They shall neither disclose nor divulge to an unauthorized person confidential information acquired in the course of their duties in advance of the time prescribed for its authorized release to the public without proper legal authorization, nor use such information to advance their personal, financial or other private interests.
Public resources, including City staff time, equipment, supplies, and facilities, not available to the public in general, shall only be used for the benefit of the public and not for City official's personal or private use.
In keeping with their role as stewards of the public interest, City officials shall not appear on behalf of the private interests of third parties, including their spouses and family members within the second degree of consanguinity to the City officials or their spouse, before the City Council or any board, committee, Council or proceeding of the City.
City officials shall represent the official policies or positions of the City Council to the best of their ability when designated as delegates for this purpose. When presenting their individual opinions and positions, City officials shall explicitly state they do not represent their body or the City of Bridgman, nor will they allow the inference that they do.
City officials shall respect and adhere to the Council-Manager structure of Bridgman City government as outlined by the Bridgman City Charter. In this structure, the City Council as a whole determines the policies and directives of the City with the advice, information, and analysis provided by the public, subordinate boards, committees, and City employees.
City officials therefore shall not interfere with the administrative functions of the City or the professional duties of City employees; nor shall they impair the ability of staff to implement City Council policy decisions.
Because of the value of the independent advice of subordinate boards, committees, and councils to the public decisionmaking process, members of the City Council shall, except when the Council member is a member of the public body, limit their participation in the proceedings of such subordinate public bodies to the communication of requested information and providing factual information relevant to the discussion at hand and shall not otherwise attempt to unduly influence the deliberations or outcomes of the proceedings.
City officials shall support the maintenance of a positive and constructive workplace environment for City employees and for citizens and businesses dealing with the City. City officials shall recognize their special role in dealings with City employees so as to in no way create the perception of inappropriate direction to staff nor, except for the purpose of inquiry, give specific orders to subordinates of the City Manager.
Because City officials' actions and comments contribute to the environment in which all City employees must work, in order to create and promote a positive work environment under no circumstances shall City officials, either in public or private, intimidate, humiliate, or otherwise abuse a City employee.
This Code of Ethics for Bridgman City officials expresses standards of ethical conduct expected by Bridgman City officials. City officials themselves have the primary responsibility to assure that they understand and meet the ethical standards expressed in this Code of Ethics and that the public can continue to have full confidence in the integrity of government.
All City officials shall have a responsibility to intervene when actions of another City official, which appear to be in violation of the Code of Ethics, are brought to their attention. Requests to investigate or take action to enforce this Code of Ethics shall be brought to the City Attorney, and if the attorney has reasonable suspicion of a violation of the Code of Ethics, the Mayor, or any three officials, may require the setting of a public hearing at a regular or special meeting of the City Council to determine whether a violation of the Code of Ethics has occurred and, if so, what sanctions shall be imposed for the violation.
The City Council may impose sanctions on City officials whose conduct does not comply with the City's ethical standards. Sanctions may include reprimand, formal censure, loss of committee assignment, restrictions on budget or travel, and removal from office as provided by the City Charter or by the Governor in the manner and for the causes provided by law. A violation of this Code of Ethics shall not be considered a basis for challenging the validity of a City Council decision.
As an expression of the standards of conduct for City officials expected by the public, this Code of Ethics is intended to be self-enforcing. It therefore becomes most effective when City officials are thoroughly familiar with it and embrace its provisions.
For this reason, ethical standards shall be included in the regular orientations for newly elected or appointed City officials. In addition, the City Council shall annually review the Code of Ethics for Bridgman City officials.
City officials entering office after election or appointment shall sign a statement affirming that they have read and understand the Code of Ethics for Bridgman City officials. Each City official, upon being elected or appointed to a position as a City official, shall sign the following official's Statement of Acknowledgment, which shall be kept on file in the Clerk's office.