[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Lower Merion 12-21-1977 by resolution. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Amended 3-16-1988 by Ord. No. 3079]
A Code of Ethics is hereby established for all officials and employees of Lower Merion Township, whether elected or appointed, paid or unpaid, including all members of advisory and administrative boards. The purpose of this code is to establish certain 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 Township, by directing disclosure by such officials and employees of financial or other interests in matters affecting the Township and by establishing certain responsibilities.
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 Township.
Officials and employees shall act within the scope of their authority and within the law and shall work in full cooperation with other public officials and employees unless prohibited from so doing by law.
No official or employee shall request or permit the use of Township-owned vehicles, equipment, materials or property for personal convenience or profit, except when such services are available to the public generally or, by municipal policy, are provided for the use of such official or employee in the conduct of official business.
No official or employee shall grant any special consideration, treatment or advantage to any person beyond that which is available to every other person. No official or employee shall grant any special consideration, treatment or advantage for his personal benefit.
No Commissioner or other official or employee shall engage in any business or transaction or shall have any interest which would impair his independence of judgment or action in the performance of his official duties.
Specific conflicts of interest are enumerated below for the guidance of officials and employees.
Disclosure of confidential information. No Commissioner or other official or employee shall, without proper authorization, disclose confidential information concerning the property, government or affair of the Township which shall advance the financial or other interest of himself or others.
Gifts and favors. No Commissioner or other official or employee shall accept any valuable gift, whether in the form of service, loan, thing or promise, from any person which to his knowledge is interested directly or indirectly in any manner whatsoever in business dealings with the Township; nor shall any such official or employee accept any gift, favor or thing of value that may tend to influence him in the discharge of his duties or grant in the discharge of his duties any improper favor, service or thing of value. The receipt of casual business meals or refreshments shall not be held to be within the meaning of this provision.
Representing private interests before Township agencies or courts. No Commissioner or other official or employee shall represent private interests in any action or proceeding against the interests of the Township or in any court litigation to which the Township is a party. A Commissioner may appear before the Township agencies on behalf of constituents in the course of his duties as a representative of the electorate or in the performance of public or civic obligations, provided that a Commissioner may not appear before the Zoning Hearing Board until he has made a good faith effort to consult with the Township Solicitor. However, no Commissioner or other official or employee shall accept a retainer or compensation in respect to any matter pending before a Township agency.
[Amended 8-3-1988 by Ord. No. 3103]
Contracts with the Township. Any Commissioner or other official or employee who has a financial interest in any business entity, transaction or contract with the Township or in the sale of real estate, materials, supplies or services to the Township shall make known to the Township Secretary such interest in any matter. This provision shall not be applicable to stocks, bonds, mutual funds or other holdings wherein the investment in relation to the entire entity is insignificant. He shall refrain from voting upon or otherwise participating in the transaction or the making of such contract or sale.
Disclosure of interest in pending matters.
[Amended 12-15-2004 by Ord. No. 3726]
A Commissioner who has any interest in any pending Township motion, resolution or ordinance which would impair his independence of judgment or action in the performance of his official duties shall disclose such interest to the Township Secretary and shall abstain from the consideration of or voting upon such matter.
Any employee who has a financial interest and who participates in discussion with or gives an official opinion to the Board of Commissioners shall disclose same.
Any other official who has any interest in any pending matter before the board or commission served by such person which would impair his independence of judgment or action in the performance of his official duties shall disclose such interest and shall abstain from the consideration of or voting upon such matter.
When a Commissioner or other official or employee has doubt as to the applicability or interpretation of any provision of this code, he or she may apply to the Board of Commissioners for an advisory opinion. The Commissioner or other official or employee may submit in writing the question raised and the language to be interpreted without necessarily making reference to a particular set of facts.
The Board of Commissioners shall have the power, in its discretion, to establish rules of procedure with respect to matters arising under this code.
Nothing in this code shall be deemed to amend, modify, alter or supersede any statutory enactment regarding the privileges, duties or obligations of Township Commissioners or other officials or employees.