Town of Blooming Grove, NY
Orange County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Blooming Grove 6-26-1995 by L.L. No. 2-1995 (Ch. 2 of the 1975 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Defense and indemnification — See Ch. 7.
Officers and employees — See Ch. 31.
[Amended 4-12-1999 by L.L. No. 3-1999]
The Town Board of the Town of Blooming Grove recognizes that certain rules of conduct for public officers and employees must be observed in order to maintain a high degree of professionalism, propriety and public confidence in Town government. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a set of standards to guide officers and employees in executing their duties and responsibilities to the Town and the public; to require annual disclosure of any financial interest in matters which may involve the administration or authority of the Town; to establish a local Board of Ethics; to provide that municipal officers and employees may receive additional guidance from the Board of Ethics; and to provide for penalties for the violation of the standards of this chapter. This chapter is not intended to abrogate any requirement or provision of state or federal law, and, in particular, all officers and employees shall be subject to the provisions of Article 18 of the General Municipal Law and any other general or special law or case law relating to ethical conduct, interest in contracts and personal interests of municipal officers and employees.
All words and phrases used herein shall have their ordinary meanings unless the context requires otherwise or unless set forth below:
CODE
The Town of Blooming Grove Code of Ethics, Article 18 of the General Municipal Law, and any other general or special law or case relating to ethical conduct, interests in contracts and personal interests of municipal officers and employees.
[Added 4-12-1999 by L.L. No. 3-1999]
CONTRACT
Any claim, account or demand against or agreement with the Town, express or implied, and shall include the designation of a depository of public funds and the designation of an official newspaper.
FAMILY
The officer or employee him/herself, his/her spouse or their brothers, sisters, parents, children, grandchildren or the spouse of any of the foregoing.
INTEREST
A direct or indirect pecuniary or material benefit accruing to a municipal officer or employee as the result of a contract with the Town or any other business or professional transaction with the Town. For the purposes of this chapter, a municipal officer or employee shall be deemed to have an interest in the contract or the business or professional affairs of:
A. 
His spouse, minor children and dependents;
B. 
A business concern, firm, partnership or association of which such officer or employee, or such officer or employee's immediate family is a member, partner, owner, director or employee;
C. 
A corporation of which such officer or employee is an officer, director or employee; and
D. 
A corporation any stock of which is owned or controlled directly or indirectly by such officer or employee or immediate family member.
MUNICIPAL OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE
The Town Supervisor, Councilpersons and any other elected or appointed officer or employee of the Town of Blooming Grove, whether paid or unpaid, including members of any administrative board, commission or other agency thereof. For the purpose of this chapter no person shall be deemed to be a municipal officer or employee solely by reason of being a volunteer fireman or civil defense volunteer.
TOWN
The Town of Blooming Grove or any of its boards, commissions or agencies, whether operated solely by the Town or jointly with one or more other municipalities.
Every officer and employee of the Town shall conduct their official and private affairs so as to be above reproach and shall abide by the following standards of conduct:
A. 
Gifts.
[Amended 4-12-1999 by L.L. No. 3-1999]
(1) 
An officer or employee of the Town shall not directly or indirectly solicit, accept or receive any gift of any value in the form of cash, loan or negotiable instrument.
(2) 
An officer or employee of the Town shall not directly or indirectly solicit, accept or receive any gift having a value of more than $50, whether in the form of services, travel, entertainment, hospitality, promise, thing or any other form, under circumstances in which it could reasonably be inferred that the gift was intended to influence the officer or employee, or could reasonably be expected to influence him or her in the performance of his or her official duties, or was intended as a reward for any official action or conduct on his or her part.
B. 
Disclosure of confidential information. No officer or employee of the Town shall disclose confidential information acquired by him or her in the course of his or her official duties or use such information to further his or her personal interests or the personal interests of others.
C. 
Rendering of services.
(1) 
No municipal officer or employee of the Town shall receive compensation or enter into any agreement, expressed or implied, to receive compensation with respect to any matter which is, was or will be before him or her for determination in his or her official capacity as a municipal officer or employee of the Town. This provision shall not apply to compensation received from the Town for services rendered to the same.
(2) 
No municipal officer or employee shall appear as attorney or counsel against the interest of the Town in any matter in which the Town is a party of complainant.
[Amended 4-12-1999 by L.L. No. 3-1999]
(3) 
Representation by consultant. No Town consultant shall appear on behalf of private interests before the Town Board, or any other Town Board or commission or agency thereof or actively employed by the Town.
D. 
Use of position to achieve preferential treatment. No officer, employee or consultant of the Town shall use or attempt to use his or her official position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for himself or herself or others or grant any special consideration, treatment or advantage to any citizen beyond that which is available to every other citizen.
E. 
Disclosure of interest in legislation or other matters involving potential conflict of interest.
(1) 
Any officer, employee or consultant who has a direct or indirect interest in any matter before the board of which he or she is a member or any officer or employee or consultant who has a direct or indirect interest in any matter before the Town Board and who participates in the discussion before or who makes a recommendation or gives an opinion to said Board shall publicly disclose on the official record of the relevant board or boards the nature and extent of such interest and refrain from acting by recusal.
(2) 
The following individual and/or individuals holding the following positions shall disclose, in writing, to the Board of Ethics all land holding in the Town of Blooming Grove, whether held by the individual or his family or jointly with any family member or jointly in partnership with others or as a corporation or trust in which partnership, corporation or trust the officer or employee or his or her spouse is an officer, director or employee or in which he or she or his or her spouse legally or beneficially owns or controls more than 5% of the outstanding stock or interest. In the event of land holdings involving a partnership, corporation or trust, the officer or employee shall provide the name of the partnership, corporation or trust and his or her position and his or her spouse's position with the same. Said disclosure shall be made within 10 days of commencing employment. The individuals to which this requirement applies are:
(a) 
All municipal officers and employees.
(b) 
The Town Engineer.
(c) 
Town Attorney and attorneys for the Town.
(d) 
Town consulting engineers.
(e) 
Town consulting attorneys.
(3) 
In the event that a change occurs with respect to any of the information required on the aforesaid disclosure statement, the individual required to file such a statement shall file an amended statement reflecting any such change in circumstances. Such amended statement shall be filed within the earlier of 10 days of the individual's knowledge of such change in circumstance or within 10 days of a request for an amended statement by the Board of Ethics.
F. 
Anti-nepotism.
[Added 12-27-2011 by L.L. No. 5-2011]
(1) 
Applicability. The provisions of this Subsection H shall apply to all appointments, including but not limited to initial appointments, promotions and transfers, made on or after the effective date of this Subsection F, except such provisions shall not apply to appointments to positions that are subject to competitive examination pursuant to the state Civil Service Law and/or the Orange County Rules for the Administration of Civil Service Law or to employment and supervisory arrangements which existed and were in effect in accordance with applicable Town policy prior to the effective date of this Subsection F. However, any changes in the employment or position of an individual or in immediate family relationship, as defined herein, shall be governed by the provisions of this § 20-3F.
(2) 
Definitions. As used in this § 20-3F, the following terms shall have the meanings as set forth:
IMMEDIATE FAMILY
Spouses grandfathers, grandmothers, grandsons, granddaughters, fathers, mothers, stepfathers, stepmothers, sons, daughters, stepsons, stepdaughters, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, first cousins, fathers-in-law, mothers-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, daughters-in-law or sons-in-law; or the spouse of any member of the immediate family; or a person with whom an officer or employee shares a residence within the context of a committed relationship.
OFFICER or EMPLOYEE
As defined in § 20-2.
(3) 
Prohibited employment.
(a) 
The appointment or employment of any individual to a position not being filled pursuant to a Civil Service Law competitive examination shall be prohibited if that individual would supervise, or would be supervised by, a member of that individual's immediate family.
(b) 
An elected or appointed officer shall be prohibited from appointing, directly supervising or voting for the appointment of a member of his or her immediate family in or to any position or employment with the Town of Blooming Grove.
(4) 
Exception. The Town Board may, by resolution, authorize an exception to the prohibitions set forth in this § 20-3F when it is determined to be otherwise in accordance with applicable law and in the best interest of the Town to grant an exception.
(5) 
Prohibited appointment deemed null and void. Any appointment or employment of an individual made contrary to the prohibitions set forth in this § 20-3F is and shall be null and void. Such individual shall not be considered an officer or employee of the Town for any purpose.
G. 
If any Town officer, Board member, employee or consultant has a potential or actual conflict of interest in any matter in which he or she encounters in the performance of his or her official Town duties, he or she shall make known to all concerned parties the nature of such conflict and shall refrain from any participation whatsoever in the matter so as to avoid a true conflict. In all cases of potential or actual conflict, the Town Board shall be made aware of the situation by the person in conflict along with any other concerned parties, including the duly appointed Board of Ethics.
H. 
Future employment. No officer, employee or consultant, after termination of service or employment with the Town, shall appear before any board or agency of the Town in relation to any case, proceeding or application in which he or she personally participated during the period of his or her service or employment or which was under his or her active consideration.
No officer or employee of the Town and no organization or service chartered by or directly or indirectly sponsored or supported by the Town shall:
A. 
Discriminate or cause segregation, directly or indirectly, based upon gender, creed, race or national origin or allow said factors to affect the recruitment, selection, placement, assignment, compensation or promotion of any officer, employee or member of said organization or service.
B. 
Permit directly or indirectly, the use of any Town property, equipment or service by any person or persons, organizations, corporations or any other group which directly or indirectly discriminates as set forth in Subsection A above.
C. 
Allow the Town to knowingly possess any financial or business interest or dealings with any organization which discriminates as set forth in Subsection A above.
The Town Clerk shall cause a copy of Article 18 of the General Municipal Law and of this Code of Ethics to be distributed to every officer, employee or consultant of the Town. Failure to distribute any such copy or failure of any officer, employee or consultant to receive such copy shall have no effect on the duty of compliance with such code nor the enforcement of provisions thereof.
[Amended 4-12-1999 by L.L. No. 3-1999]
A. 
Establishment of Town Board of Ethics.
(1) 
A local Board of Ethics for the Town of Blooming Grove is hereby established.
(2) 
The Board of Ethics shall consist of five members, all of whom shall be appointed by the Town Board. The term of office shall be five years, commencing January 1. However, the term of the persons appointed to fill the two additional positions established by this subsection shall be staggered, in a manner determined by resolution of the Town Board, such that the term of one member expires each year on December 31.
[Amended 3-11-2013 by L.L. No. 1-2013]
(3) 
All members of the Board of Ethics shall reside within the Town. No political party officer, lobbyist or elected official may be a member, and not more than one Town officer or employee may be a member.
B. 
Operation of Board of Ethics.
(1) 
Appropriate funds shall be allocated by the Town Board for the operation and maintenance of the Board of Ethics.
(2) 
Matters before the Board of Ethics shall be confidential, and, therefore, all meetings of the Board to discuss or hear a matter concerning the ethical conduct of an officer or employee shall be closed to the public. Opinions and requests for opinions shall be confidential records, except as provided in Subsection G(4) below or unless the individual who is the subject of the opinion specifically requests otherwise, in writing, to the Board of Ethics. All opinions and requests for opinions shall be indexed and maintained on file in an appropriate manner by the Board of Ethics.
(3) 
The Attorney for the Town shall provide such legal and advisory services to the Board of Ethics as the Board may require for the performance of its duties.
C. 
Compensation. Members of the Board of Ethics shall not receive compensation for the performance of their official duties but shall be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses.
D. 
Removal of Board member. A member of the Board of Ethics serves at the pleasure of the Town Board and may be removed with or without cause by a majority vote of the Town Board.
E. 
Quorum, voting and meetings. At its first meeting each year the Board of Ethics shall elect a Chairman from among its membership. Two members of the Board shall constitute a quorum, and a vote of at least two members shall be required for the Board to take any action. The Board shall hold at least one regularly scheduled meeting per year, in March of each year, and other meetings as needed. The Chairman or any two members of the Board may call a meeting of the Board.
F. 
Powers, duties and responsibilities. The Board of Ethics shall have the following powers, duties and responsibilities:
(1) 
Prescribe and promulgate rules and regulations governing its own organization and procedures in a manner consistent with the code.
(2) 
Review and maintain lists of officers and employees and annual financial disclosure statements.
(3) 
Issue advisory opinions to any Town officer or employee in accordance with Subsection G below.
(4) 
Index and maintain the confidentiality of advisory opinions.
(5) 
Provide training and education to Town officers and employees with respect to the provisions of the code.
(6) 
Prepare an annual report to the Town Board summarizing the activities of the Board of Ethics.
(7) 
Recommend changes to the Code of Ethics if deemed necessary or appropriate by the Board.
(8) 
Act only with respect to officers, employees and consultants of the Town of Blooming Grove.
(9) 
At the Board's option and discretion, refer any matter within its jurisdiction to the County of Orange Board of Ethics.
(10) 
Conduct any investigation and hearing necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter, including the power to administer oaths or affirmations, subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance and require the production of any books or records which it may deem relevant and material.
[Added 1-23-2006 by L.L. No. 2-2006]
G. 
Advisory opinions.
(1) 
Upon the written request of a municipal officer or employee, the Board of Ethics shall render an advisory opinion to such officer or employee with respect to any matter addressed by the code as such matter may apply to the subject officer or employee.
(2) 
In addition, the Town Board, by majority vote, may make a written request to the Board of Ethics to render such an advisory opinion to a specified officer or employee with respect to any matter addressed by the code as such matter may apply to such officer or employee. Such requests by the Town Board shall set forth specific reasons in support of the request. Upon such written request by the Town Board, the Board of Ethics shall render an advisory opinion to the officer or employee.
[Amended 3-11-2013 by L.L. No. 1-2013]
(3) 
In addition, upon receipt of a sworn complaint by any person alleging a violation of the code or upon determining on its own initiative that a violation of the code may exist, the Board of Ethics shall have the power and duty to conduct any investigation deemed necessary by the Board of Ethics to carry out the provisions of this code. Upon receipt of a sworn complaint by any person, the Board of Ethics shall determine, in its discretion, whether the complaint contains adequate allegations of fact to conduct an investigation. Such complaint must be signed by the complainant and state that the complainant swears, under penalty of perjury, that the complainant knows or reasonably believes that the allegations made therein are true.
[Added 3-11-2013 by L.L. No. 1-2013[1]]
[1]
Editor’s Note: This local law also provided for the redesignation of former Subsection G(3) through (6) as Subsection G(4) through (7), respectively.
(4) 
Any advisory opinion rendered by the Board of Ethics shall be in writing, shall set forth supporting reasons and shall be delivered only to the subject officer or employee. Such opinion shall remain confidential except as provided in Subsection G(4) below or unless the subject officer or employee specifically requests otherwise, in writing, to the Board of Ethics.
(5) 
If the Town Board advises the Board of Ethics, in writing, that the Town Board (or any other Town body with disciplinary authority) is investigating potential misconduct or is considering the preparation of disciplinary charges against any officer or employee based, in whole or part, on an alleged violation of any matter addressed by the code or any alleged breach of ethical conduct, and the Town Board (or such other body) requests a copy of any advisory opinion the Board of Ethics has rendered with respect to the subject matter of the Town Board's (or such other body's) request, then the Board of Ethics shall transmit said copy to the Town Board (or such other body). The Town Board (or such other body) shall maintain the confidentiality of any such advisory opinion, except the opinion may be made public as part of a disciplinary hearing. If the Board of Ethics has not rendered an advisory opinion on that subject or if the subject officer or employee has not requested such an advisory opinion, then the Board of Ethics shall so advise the Town Board (or other such body).
(6) 
Upon written request of any board or commission of the Town, the Board of Ethics shall render a written advisory opinion with respect to the general interpretation or application of any provision of the code.
(7) 
Any advisory opinion rendered by the Board of Ethics may, where appropriate, recommend to the Town Board disciplinary action or penalties for violation of the Ethics Code.
[Added 1-23-2006 by L.L. No. 2-2006]
In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law, any person who violates any of the provisions of this code may be fined, suspended or removed from office or employment in the manner provided by law.
[Amended 1-27-1997 by L.L. No. 1-1997]
A. 
The following municipal officers and employees shall file an annual statement of financial disclosure with the Town Clerk on or before January 10 of each year with respect to the preceding calendar year:
(1) 
All elected officials, except justices;
(2) 
All members of the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Board of Assessment Review, and Board of Ethics.
[Amended 6-14-2016 by L.L. No. 4-2016]
(3) 
All department heads, their deputies and other persons authorized to make policy or decisions in the absence of the department head; and
(4) 
All officers and employees in policymaking or decision-making positions.
B. 
The Town Board may, by resolution, amend the above list of officers and employees required to submit a financial disclosure form and, by resolution, specifically determine by title or position those officers and employees required to submit an annual financial disclosure form.
C. 
An officer or employee required to submit a financial disclosure form must submit an amended form within 10 days after any relevant change in circumstances. Other filing requirements and penalties for failure to file a financial disclosure form are set forth on the form.
D. 
The annual statement of financial disclosure shall contain the information and shall be in the form set forth below. Said form may be amended from time to time by resolution of the Town Board.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The financial disclosure form is on file in the Town offices.