[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Wallkill 7-22-1993. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Defense and indemnification — See Ch. 17.
This chapter shall be known as the "Code of Ethics of the Town of Wallkill."
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Town of Wallkill, N.Y.
- TOWN CONSULTANT
- Any individual, group or firm which renders services on behalf of the town to any town officer, Town Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals or any other town agency.
- TOWN OFFICER
- An officer, elected or appointed, or employee of the Town of Wallkill, whether paid or unpaid, including members of the Town Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Industrial Development Agency, Board of Assessment Review, Police Commission or any other agency and employees.
No town officer, Town Board member, town employee or town consultant shall have any interest, financial or otherwise, or engage in any business or transaction or professional activity, which is in conflict with the proper discharge of his/her duties in the public interest.
Any town officer who has any financial interest in any contract with the town, or in the sale of any land, material, supplies or services to the town, shall make the interest known, in writing, to the Town Board of Ethics. The conflicted person shall not in any way participate in discussions regarding the contract/interest.
In addition, the following individuals will disclose, in writing to the Town Board of Ethics, all land holdings in the Town of Wallkill, whether held personally or jointly with a family member, jointly in partnership with others or as a corporation or trust, and the name of any partnership, corporation or trust of which he/she is an officer, employee or stockholder which owns property in the Town of Wallkill:
Each official required to disclose shall be responsible for updating his/her disclosure whenever there is a change in the status of his/her land holdings and financial interests.
All land holdings disclosure statements shall be received by the Board of Ethics.
No town officer or town consultant shall disclose confidential information acquired by him/her in the course of his/her official duties, nor use such information to advance his/her financial interests.
No town officer shall accept other employment which will impair his/her independence of judgment in the exercise of his/her official town duties.
No town officer shall use or attempt to use his/her official position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for himself/herself or others.
No town officer shall engage in any transaction as a representative of the Town of Wallkill with any business entity in which he/she has a financial interest that might reasonably tend to conflict with the proper discharge of his/her official duties.
No town officer shall by his/her conduct give reasonable basis for the impression that another can improperly influence him/her or unduly enjoy his/her favor in the performance of his/her official duties or that he/she is affected by kinship, rank, position or influence.
A town officer shall abstain from making personal investments in enterprises which he/she has reason to believe may be directly involved in decisions to be made by him/her or which will otherwise create substantial conflict between his/her duty in the public interest and his/her private interest.
The Town Board shall establish the Town of Wallkill Board of Ethics, consisting of five members, and shall appropriate adequate funds for the Board's operation.
All members of the Board of Ethics shall reside within the town. No Board member shall hold office in any political party, political action committee or be employed as a lobbyist. All Board members shall be subject to the Code of Ethics of the Town of Wallkill. A member of the Board of Ethics may be dismissed only by a unanimous vote of the Town Board after the Town Board has conducted a hearing in executive session to determine if that member has violated his/her duties by malicious or politically motivated use of the Town of Wallkill Code of Ethics.
Appointments to the Board of Ethics shall be made annually in March at the second Town Board meeting of the month. Each member shall be appointed for one year. There shall be no limit to the number of terms a member may serve. Each appointment shall be by unanimous vote of the Town Board.
At its annual organization meeting, which shall be held in April, the Town Board of Ethics shall elect a Chairperson from among its membership. Three members of the Board shall constitute a quorum. A Quorum is required for the Board to take any action. Meetings will be called by the Chair as needed.
The Board of Ethics of the Town of Wallkill shall have the following powers and duties:
To issue advisory opinions when requested by a town officer on his/her own behalf pursuant to § 21-11 of this code.
To recommend that a hearing be conducted by the Town Board and to recommend to the Town Board disciplinary action pursuant to § 21-10C of this code.
To submit to the Town Board an annual report of the Board's activities and to recommend changes to this code if necessary.
The Town Board of Ethics may act only with respect to officers or consultants of the town.
Upon receipt of a written notification of an alleged violation of this code, the Town Board may, within 10 days, by a majority vote, refer the matter to the Board of Ethics for an investigation if it feels one is warranted. When an investigation is conducted, the Board of Ethics shall render an advisory opinion to the Town Board. The advisory opinion shall be a public document. Board of Ethics meetings conducted to formulate the advisory opinion shall be conducted in executive session so as to protect the privacy of the individual against whom a complaint has been lodged, should the complaint be without merit.
Recommendation of disciplinary action. If the Board of Ethics decides that it is warranted, it shall recommend that the Town Board conduct a hearing on the matter. The Town Board shall, by a majority vote, then determine if a breach of ethics exists and may consider the disciplinary action recommended by the Board of Ethics. Possible disciplinary action may include a written warning from the Town Board, a written reprimand from the Town Board, suspension or removal from office or employment from the Town of Wallkill.
Any town officer may request, in writing, at any time that the Board of Ethics render an advisory opinion on any matter relating to the performance of his/her duties so as to enable town officers of the Town of Wallkill to avoid any violations of this code.
All advisory opinions shall be made a part of the public record and be available for inspection at the office of the Town Clerk.
Any town officer is required to notify the Town of Wallkill Chief of Police of any illegal activity that he/she becomes aware of in the performance of town business or otherwise.
All town officers shall disclose, in writing to the Board of Ethics, any personal gift, in excess of $75 in value, received in relation to town business, from a consultant for the town or from a developer or other party seeking to do business with the town.