[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Amsterdam; Article I, 8-4-1970; Article II, 8-4-1970. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 8-4-1970; amended in its entirety 10-21-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-9]
Pursuant to the provisions of § 806 of the General Municipal Law, the Common Council of the City of Amsterdam recognizes that there are rules of ethical conduct for public officers and employees which must be observed if a high degree of moral conduct is to be obtained and if public confidence is to be maintained in our unit of local government. It is the purpose of this article to promulgate these rules of ethical conduct for the officers and employees of the City of Amsterdam. These rules shall serve as a guide for official conduct of the officers and employees of the City of Amsterdam. The rules of ethical conduct of this article, as adopted, shall not conflict with, but shall be in addition to, 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.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A direct or indirect pecuniary or material benefit accruing to a municipal officer or employee as the result of a contract with the municipality which such officer or employee serves. For the purposes of this chapter, a municipal officer or employee shall be deemed to have an interest in the contract of:
- A. His spouse, minor children and dependents, except a contract of employment with the municipality which such officer or employee serves.
- B. A firm, partnership or association of which such officer or employee is a member or employee.
- 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.
- MUNICIPAL OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE
- An officer or employee of the City of Amsterdam whether paid or unpaid, including members of any administrative board, commission or other agency thereof. No person shall be deemed to be a municipal officer or employee solely by reason of being a volunteer fireman or civil defense volunteer, except a Chief Engineer or Assistant Chief Engineer.
Every officer or employee of the City of Amsterdam shall be subject to and abide by the following standards of conduct:
Gifts. He shall not, directly or indirectly, solicit any gift or accept or receive any gift having a value of $75 or more, whether in 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 in the performance of his official duties or was included as a reward for any official action on his part.
Confidential information. He shall not disclose confidential information acquired by him in the course of his official duties or use such information to further his personal interest.
Representation before one's own agency. He shall not receive or enter into any agreement, express or implied, for compensation for services to be rendered in relation to any matter before any municipal agency of which he is an officer, member or employee, or of any municipal agency over which he has jurisdiction or to which he has the power to appoint any member, officer or employee.
Representation before any agency for a contingent fee. He shall not receive or enter into any agreement, express or implied, for compensation for services to be rendered in relation to any matter before any agency of his municipality, whereby his compensation is to be dependent or contingent upon any action by such agency with respect to such matter, provided that this subsection shall not prohibit the fixing at any time of fees based upon the reasonable value of the services rendered.
Disclosure of the following is required
Disclosure of interest in legislation. To the extent that he knows thereof, a member of the Common Council and any officer or employee of the City of Amsterdam, whether paid or unpaid, who participates in the discussion, or gives official opinion to the Common Council on any legislation before the Common Council, shall publicly disclose on the official record the nature and extent of any direct or indirect financial or other private interest he has in such legislation. Such disclosure shall be written and made part of and shall be set forth in the official record of the proceedings of such body.
Any officer or employee of the City of Amsterdam must comply with any and all other disclosure requirements contained in any and all provisions of state and local law.
Disclosure of campaign contributions. Any officer or employee who individually or whose duly constituted campaign committee has, in any election cycle received contributions of $250 or more from a firm or person with an interest in any matter before any City Board, Commission or the Common Council, where the officer or employee is a member or participates in the deliberation of such City Board, Commission or the Common Council, shall promptly disclose, in writing, to the respective board, commission, or council, the date, amount and recipient of such contribution. Such written disclosure shall be made part of and shall be set forth in the official record of the proceedings of such body. The officer or employee should then recuse himself in any such matter.
Investment in conflict with official duties. He shall not invest or hold any investment directly or indirectly in any financial, business, commercial or other private transaction which creates a conflict with his official duties.
Private employment. He shall not engage in, solicit, negotiate for or promise to accept private employment or render services for private interests when such employment or service creates a conflict with or impairs the proper discharge of his official duties.
Future employment. He shall not, after the termination of service or employment with such municipality, appear before any board or agency of the City of Amsterdam in relation to any case, proceeding or application in which he personally participated during the period of his service or employment or which was under his active consideration.
Appearance of impropriety. He shall avoid any appearance of impropriety.
Private interest. A City officer or employee shall not use his or her official position, office, or City property or resources (e.g., official letterhead), nor take or fail to take any official action in a manner which he or she knows or has reason to know may result in a personal or financial benefit, or otherwise further the private interest of the officer or employee; his or her outside employer or business; his or her spouse, in-law, domestic partner, co-habitant, child, stepchild, sibling, parent or grandparents, or his or her customer or client. The rules of this section shall apply to contracts, employee relations decisions, and all other official actions.
Political interest. No member of the Common Council or officer or employee of the City of Amsterdam may use his or her authority over City property, resources, or personnel to further or inhibit the political interests of any candidate for public office; nor may be or she take or fail to take any official action to further or inhibit the political interests of any candidate for public office. No action taken by an officer or employee of the City of Amsterdam shall be considered to violate this provision if such action is part of the usual assigned work duties of that officer or employee, unless the actions are taken in a discriminatory manner that is intended by the officer or employee to further or hinder the political interests of any candidate.
Recusal. Officers and employees should recuse themselves from participation in discussion, deliberation, or voting in any matter in which they have an actual or potential interest prohibited by this code.
Nothing herein shall be deemed to bar or prevent the timely filing by a present or former municipal officer or employee of any claim, account, demand or suit against the City of Amsterdam, or any agency thereof on behalf of himself or any member of his family arising out of any personal injury or property damage or for any lawful benefit authorized or permitted by law.
The Employee Relations Director, or any descendent position thereof, shall cause a copy of this Code of Ethics and the ethics disclosure statement to be distributed to every officer and employee of the City of Amsterdam. Each officer and employee elected or appointed on and after the effective date of this chapter shall be furnished such copy before entering upon the duties of his or her office or employment. The City Clerk shall keep on file a signed statement that the Code of Ethics was received. Failure to distribute any such copy or failure of any officer or employee to receive such copy shall have no effect on the duty of compliance with this chapter or with the enforcement of the provisions thereof.
The Common Council may facilitate periodic ethics training programs for officers and employees or the City and for the public.
All officers and employees shall, at the time of filing his or her acknowledgement of receipt of the Code of Ethics, also file with the City Clerk an ethics disclosure statement, in a form established by the Board of Ethics.
All officers and employees shall ensure that such disclosure statement remains current, and must file an updated disclosure statement as necessary.
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 may be fined, suspended or removed from office or employment, as the case may be, in the manner provided by law.
[Adopted 8-4-1970; amended in its entirety 10-21-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-9]
There is hereby established a nonpartisan Board of Ethics, consisting of six members, five of whom shall be appointed by the Mayor and serve at the pleasure of the Mayor. One nonvoting member shall be appointed by the Common Council and serve at the pleasure of the Common Council. A majority of such voting members shall be persons other than officers or employees of the City of Amsterdam, New York. Such board shall include at least one voting member who is an elected or appointed municipal officer or employee. The Corporation Counsel shall act as an advisor to the Board.
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 City of Amsterdam with respect to Article 18 of the General Municipal Law and any Code of Ethics adopted pursuant to such article, under such rules and regulations as the Board may prescribe. In addition, the Board may make recommendations with respect to any amendments to the Code of Ethics upon request of the Common Council. To the extent permitted by law, the identity of the officer or employee seeking advice, and the nature of the inquiry shall be and remain confidential.
The Ethics Board shall have the authority to receive written complaints alleging violations of this code, to investigate such complaints, and to render advisory opinions thereon.
Complaints shall be subscribed to the Ethics Board complaint form and presented to the City Clerk in a sealed envelope clearly marked to the Ethics Board. The City Clerk shall thereafter present the sealed envelope to the Chair of the Ethics Board.
To maintain confidentiality, under no circumstances shall the envelope be opened by anybody other than a member of the Ethics Board.
An officer or employee under investigation by the Board of Ethics shall be afforded written notice of the investigation, a copy of the complaint on which it is based, and an opportunity to be heard. In the course of its investigations, the Board of Ethics may take testimony under oath.
The Board shall promulgate its own rules and regulations as to its forms and procedures and shall maintain appropriate records of its proceedings.
At the conclusion of its investigation, the Board shall render a written opinion stating its findings, conclusions, and recommendations. A copy of the opinion shall be furnished to the complainant, the subject officer or employee, and to the Mayor and Common Council for any action deemed necessary or appropriate.
In the event that this chapter conflicts with General Municipal Law Article 18, General Municipal Law shall prevail.
In the event that any provision of this chapter shall conflict or be inconsistent with any provisions of the City Charter, the provisions of the City Charter shall prevail.