[HISTORY: Derived from Ch. 10 of the 1978 Code, as amended by L.L. No. 3-1998. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
[Amended 6-27-2013 by L.L. No. 6-2013]
Pursuant to the provisions of § 806 of the General Municipal Law, and the Municipal Home Rule Law of the State of New York, the Board of Trustees of the Village of New Paltz has adopted this Code of Ethics to set forth for the guidance of its officers, employees and consultants the standards of conduct to be reasonably expected of them if public confidence is to be maintained in our unit of local government. The proper operation of the Village government requires that its officers, employees and consultants be impartial, unbiased and responsible to the people of the Village of New Paltz; that public office should not be used for personal gain; that public officers and employees maintain the highest standards of integrity and discharge faithfully the duties of their office, regardless of personal considerations; and that the public have confidence in all Village officers and employees. It is the intent of this chapter to promulgate these rules of ethical conduct for the officers and employees of the Village of New Paltz. These rules shall serve as a guide for official conduct of the officers, employees and consultants of the Village and are intended to supplement, but not be in conflict with, any prohibition of Article 18 of the General Municipal Law or any other general or special law relating to ethical conduct and interest in contracts of municipal officers and employees.
When used herein and unless otherwise expressly stated or unless the context otherwise requires, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any individual, group or firm which renders service on behalf of the Village to any Village officer, the Board of Trustees, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals or any other Village agency or commission.
- IMMEDIATE FAMILY
- A spouse, minor child or other dependent residing in the household of a municipal officer or employee.
- Any direct or indirect pecuniary or material benefit accruing to an officer or employee as a result of a business or a professional transaction with the Village. For the purpose of this chapter, an officer or employee shall be deemed to have a direct interest in the affairs of:
- A. His or her spouse, minor children and dependents.
- B. A business concern, partnership, trust or association of which such officer or employee and immediate family member are members, partners, owners, directors or employees.
- C. A corporation of which such officer or employee is an officer, director or employee.
- D. A corporation, any stock of which is owned or controlled, directly or indirectly by such officer or employee or any corporation in which such officer or employee or immediate family member owns more than 5% of said stock.
- MUNICIPAL OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE
- The Mayor, Trustees and any other elected or appointed officer or employee of the Village, whether paid or unpaid, including members of the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, or any other administrative advisory board, commission or other agency thereof. For the purpose of this chapter, no person shall be deemed a Village officer or Village employee solely by reason of being a volunteer fireman or a civil defense volunteer.
- The Village of New Paltz or any of its boards, commissions or agencies, whether operated solely by the Village of New Paltz or jointly with any other municipality.
[Amended 6-27-2013 by L.L. No. 6-2013]
Every municipal officer and employee of the Village of New Paltz shall be subject to and abide by the following standards of conduct:
Gifts. No officer, employee or consultant of the Village shall, directly or indirectly, solicit any gift or accept or receive from a donor any gift having a value of more than $75 whether in the form of money, services, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, thing or promise, or any other form, under circumstances in which it could reasonably be inferred that the gift was intended to influence him or her 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 on his or her part. The recipient of any such gift or gratuity shall immediately return the same to the giver and shall notify the Board of Ethics of the Village, in writing, of this incident.
Disclosure of confidential information. No officer, employee or consultant of the Village 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 private interest of others.
Rendering of services. No municipal officer or employee of the Village shall receive compensation, express or implied, 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 Village. In addition, no municipal officer or employee of the Village shall receive compensation or enter into any agreement, express or implied, to receive compensation in relation to any matter before any municipal agency, department, or board of commission, except as a part of his or her official responsibilities to the agency, department, board or commission, or as a function of the official position of the municipal officer or employee.
Use of public property. No officer, employee or consultant shall request or permit the use of Village owned vehicles, equipment, material, conference rooms or property for personal convenience or profit, except when such services are available to the public generally or are provided as municipal policy for the use of such officer or employee in the conduct of official business.
Use of position to achieve preferential treatment. No officer or employee of the Village 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.
Interest in appointments. Canvassing of members of the Board of Trustees, directly or indirectly, in order to obtain preferential consideration in connection with any appointment to the municipal service shall disqualify the candidate for appointment, except with reference to positions filled by appointment by the Board of Trustees.
Disclosure of interest in legislation or other matter involving a conflict of interest.
Any Village officer, board member, employee or consultant who has a direct or indirect financial or other private interest in any matter before the Board of Trustees or any other board or commission of the Village and who participates in the discussion before, makes a recommendation to or gives an opinion to the Board of Trustees or any other board or commission on that matter shall publicly disclose in the official record of the Board of Trustees or other board or commission the nature and extent of such interest.
All Village officers, board members, department heads and their supervisory assistants and all Village consultants are required, within 30 days of taking office, or within 30 days of the effective date of this chapter, to file a disclosure statement on a form as provided by the Village of New Paltz pursuant to this section. In the event that a change occurs with respect to any of the information required on the aforesaid disclosure statement, the party required to file such a statement shall file an amended statement reflecting any such change in circumstances within 60 days from the date thereof; unless requested by the Board of Ethics to do so sooner, in which case such amended statement shall be filed within 10 days of the request for the same. Failure to file the required disclosure statement or any amendment thereto in a timely fashion shall be deemed a violation of this chapter.
If any Village officer, board member, employee, or consultant has an actual or potential conflict of interest in any matter in which he or she encounters in the performance of his or her official Village duties, he or she shall promptly 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 an actual or potential conflict, the Village Board shall be made aware of the situation by the person in conflict along with any other concerned parties.
Investments or other interests in conflict with official duties. No officer or employee of the Village shall invest or hold any investment, directly or indirectly, in any financial, business, commercial or other private transaction which creates a conflict with his or her official duties.
Private employment. No Village officer, board member, employee or consultant shall accept other employment which will impair his or her independence of judgment in the exercise of his or her official Village duties.
Future employment. No Village officer, employee or consultant shall, after termination of service or employment with the Village, appear before any board or agency of the Village of New Paltz 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.
Political activity. No municipal officer or employee shall use his or her official position on behalf of any political party, candidate, club, association, society or committee. Any municipal officer or employee may be an officer in a political party, club, association, society or committee or may work on behalf of a political candidate. However, the employee shall disclose such participation to the Board of Trustees. Notwithstanding, no municipal officer or employee shall be exempt from any federal, state or local rules, regulations, codes of conduct or other restrictions imposed by law.
Representation by consultant. No Village consultant shall appear on behalf of private interest before the Board of Trustees, or any other Village Board or commission or agency thereof or actively employed by the Village.
Employment not affecting relationship with Village.
The provisions of this section shall not apply to a contract with a person, firm or corporation or association in which a Village officer or employee or immediate family member has an interest which is prohibited solely by reason of employment as an officer or employee thereof if the remuneration of such employment will not be directly affected as a result of the contract and the duties of employment do not directly involve the procurement, preparation or performance of any part of the contract.
The provisions of this section shall not apply to the participation by a Village officer or employee who, or whose immediate family member, is employed by a department or agency of a federal, state or county government if:
Such employment does not authorize the officer or employee to advise, recommend, negotiate, approve or audit the matter at hand;
The officer, if applicable, discloses the relationship at a public session of the Board or commission on which he or she serves when the matter at hand is being considered or the employee, if applicable, discloses the relationship in writing to the Village Clerk, who shall promptly furnish a copy thereof to each member of the Board of Trustees; and
There is no benefit or determent to the officer or employee or to the Village by reason of such participation.
Tort claims permitted. Nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to bar or prevent the timely filing by a present or former officer or employee of any claim, account, demand or suit against the Village or any agency thereof on behalf of himself or herself or any member of his or her family arising out of personal injury or property damage or for any lawful benefit authorized or permitted by law.
When an officer or employee or consultant has doubt as to the applicability of a provision of this Code of Ethics to a particular situation, he or she should apply to the Board of Ethics constituted for the implementation of this Code for an advisory opinion and be guided by that opinion when given. The officer, employee or consultant shall have the opportunity to present his or her interpretation of the facts at issue and of the applicable provisions of the Code before such advisory decision is made. This Code shall be operative at all instances covered by its provisions except if superseded by an applicable statutory provision.
The Clerk of the Village shall cause a copy of the portions of Article 18 of the General Municipal Law applicable in the Village and of this Code of Ethics to be distributed to every officer and employee of the Village within 30 days after the effective date of this chapter. Each municipal officer and employee elected or appointed thereafter shall be furnished a copy of this Code before entering upon the duties of his or her office or employment. The Clerk shall obtain each municipal officer's and employee's signature acknowledging receipt of this Code.
There is hereby established a Board of Ethics of the Village, consisting of five members, one of whom shall be a municipal officer or employee and four of whom shall be persons other than a municipal officer or employee. All members shall be appointed by the Mayor with the consent of the Board of Trustees for a term of three years, each term to expire at the end of the official Village year, except that those first appointed, two shall be appointed for three years, two shall be appointed for two years, and one shall be appointed for one year. The Board of Ethics shall elect its own Chairman. Three members of the Board shall constitute a quorum. A vote of at least three members shall be required for the Board to take any action. The Village Attorney shall provide such legal and advisory services to the Board of Ethics as it may require in the performance of its duties. There shall be a recording secretary who shall be the clerk of the Board in charge of its minutes, books and records.
[Amended 12-17-2003 by L.L. No. 7-2003]
The Board of Ethics shall have the powers and duties prescribed by Article 18 of the General Municipal Law and shall render advisory opinions to the officers and employees of the Village with respect to Article 18 of the General Municipal Law and this Code of Ethics. In addition, the Board may make recommendations with respect to the drafting and adoption of amendments to this Code of Ethics thereto upon request of the Board of Trustees. The Board shall also have the responsibility to review disclosure statements filed pursuant to § 24-3G(2) of this chapter.
The Board of Ethics shall convene at such times as may be necessary. The Board of Ethics may adopt rules and regulations relative to the conduct of its business, but may only render advisory opinions subject to these limitations:
Requests shall be in writing;
Requests or inquiries must originate with a municipal officer or employee; a resident of the Village of New Paltz 18 years or older; or an owner or officer of a business operating within the Village of New Paltz. In the event the request or inquiry originates with a resident or business owner, such request or inquiry shall be accompanied by proof of residency or business operation within the boundaries of the Village of New Paltz, as the case may be, and, in the case of a business, shall also provide proof that the person making the request or inquiry is an owner, officer, or authorized agent of such business, all to the satisfaction of the Village Clerk;
[Amended 6-27-2013 by L.L. No. 6-2013]
Requests or inquiries must relate to the conflict of interest law or Code of Ethics; and
The opinion must be approved as to legal sufficiency by the Village Attorney.
Pursuant to the authority granted to the Board of Trustees by § 22 of the Public Officers Law, the provisions of Subdivision 3 of § 808 of the General Municipal Law of the State of New York, to the extent that such provides that members of the Board of Ethics serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority, are hereby superseded.
In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law, any person who shall knowingly and intentionally violate any of the provisions of this Code of Ethics may be fined, suspended or removed from office or employment, as the case may be, in the manner provided by law.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, word or section or part of this Code of Ethics shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be unconstitutional, illegal, or invalid, such judgments shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, word, section or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered.