[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Henrietta 6-18-2014 by L.L. No. 1-2014. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Town Board of the Town of Henrietta recognizes that there are state statutory provisions mandating towns to establish rules and standards of ethical conduct for public officers and employees which can enhance public confidence in local government. Therefore, every effort will be made to assure the highest caliber of public administration of this Town as part of our state's important system of local government. It is the purpose of this article to implement this objective through the establishment of standards of conduct, to provide for punishment of violation of such standards and to create a Board of Ethics to render advisory opinions to the Town's officers and employees, as provided herein.
The standards, prohibited acts and procedures established herein are in addition to any prohibited acts, conflicts of interests provisions or procedures prescribed by statute of the State of New York and also in addition to common-law rules and judicial decisions relating to the conduct of Town officers to the extent that the same are more severe in their application than this chapter.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any board, commission, district, council or other agency, department or unit of the government of the Town of Henrietta.
- TOWN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE
- Any officer or employee of the Town of Henrietta, whether paid or unpaid, whether serving in a full-time, part-time, seasonal, temporary or advisory capacity.
No Town officer or employee shall have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage in any business or transaction or professional activity or incur any obligation of any nature which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his/her duties in the public interest.
No Town officer or employee shall accept other employment which will impair his/her independence of judgment in the exercise of his/her official duties.
No Town officer or employee shall accept employment or engage in any business or professional activity which will require him/her to disclose confidential information which he/she has gained by reason of his/her official position or authority.
No Town officer or employee shall use or attempt to use his/her official position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for himself/herself or others.
No Town officer or employee shall engage in any transaction as representative or agent of the Town with any business entity with which he/she has a direct or indirect financial interest that might reasonably tend to conflict with the proper discharge of his/her official duties.
A Town officer or employee shall not by his/her conduct give reasonable basis for the impression that any person 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 the kinship, rank, position or influence of any party or person.
Each Town officer or employee 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.
Each Town officer or employee shall endeavor to pursue a course of conduct which will not raise suspicion among the public that he/she is likely to be engaged in acts that are in violation of his/her trust.
No Town officer or employee employed on a full-time basis nor any firm or association of which such officer or employee is a member, nor any corporation a substantial portion of the stock of which is owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by such officer or employee, shall sell goods or services to any person, firm, corporation or association which is licensed or whose rates are fixed by the Town in which such officer or employee serves or is employed.
Each Town officer or employee shall, to the extent that he/she is cognizant thereof, disclose any interest he/she may have in legislation before the Town Board.
No Town officer or employee, within two years after the termination of his/her service or employment with the Town, shall accept employment which will involve contracts with the Town which can work to his/her special advantage by virtue of his/her prior contact and relationship with the Town.
No officer or employee shall, directly or indirectly, solicit any gift or accept or receive any gift having more than a nominal value, whether in the form of money, services, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, thing or promise or in any other form, from any person, firm, corporation or other entity that has a direct or indirect interest in any contract for the provision of goods or services to the Town of Henrietta or any agency thereof. The term “gift” shall be defined pursuant to New York Legislative Law § 1-c(j), as amended from time to time.
No Town officer or employee shall violate any Town or departmental policy governing conduct by officers or employees, which policies have been established and promulgated by the Town Board.
In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law, any such Town officer or employee who shall knowingly and intentionally violate any of the provisions of this chapter may be fined, suspended or removed from office or employment in the manner provided by law.
There is hereby established a Board of Ethics consisting of five members, to be appointed by the Town Board, who shall all reside in the County of Monroe and serve without compensation and at the pleasure of the Town Board of the Town of Henrietta. A majority of such members shall be persons other than Town officers or employees, but the Board shall include at least one member who is an elected or appointed Town officer or employee of the Town of Henrietta.
The Board of Ethics established hereunder shall render advisory opinions to Town officers or employees on written request and upon request of the Town Board make recommendations to such Town Board as to any amendments of this chapter. The opinions of the Board of Ethics shall be advisory and confidential, and in no event shall the identity of the Town officer or employee be disclosed except to authorized persons and agencies. Such opinions shall be on the advice of counsel employed by the Board of Ethics, or, if none, of the Town Attorney.
Such Board of Ethics, upon its formation, shall promulgate its own rules and regulations as to its form and procedures and shall maintain appropriate records of its opinions and proceedings.
Upon the adoption of this chapter, the Town Supervisor shall cause a copy thereof to be distributed to every Town officer or employee of this Town. Failure to distribute any such copy or failure of any Town officer or employee to receive such copy shall have no effect on the duty of compliance with this code, nor the enforcement of provisions hereof. The Town Supervisor shall further cause a copy of this chapter to be kept posted conspicuously in each public building under the jurisdiction of the Town. Failure to so post this chapter shall have no effect on the duty of compliance herewith, nor the enforcement of provisions hereof.
Within 30 days of the adoption of this chapter, the Town Clerk shall file a copy thereof in the office of the State Comptroller.
The Town Board may appropriate moneys from the general Town funds for the maintenance of and for personnel services to the Board of Ethics established hereunder, but such Board of Ethics may not commit the expenditure of Town moneys except within the appropriations provided herein.
Whenever a matter requiring the exercise of discretion comes before a Town of Henrietta officer or employee, either individually or as a member of a board, and disposition of the matter could result in a direct or indirect financial or material benefit to himself/herself, a relative or any private organization in which he/she is deemed to have an interest, the officer or employee shall disclose in writing the nature of the interest.
The disclosure shall be made when the matter requiring disclosure first comes before the Town, or when the Town officer or employee first acquires knowledge of the interest requiring disclosure, whichever is earlier.
In the case of a person serving in an elective office, the disclosure shall be filed with the Town Board through the Town Clerk. In all other cases, the disclosure shall be filed with the person's supervisor or, if the person does not have a supervisor, the disclosure shall be filed with the municipal officer, employee or board having the power to appoint to the person's position. In addition, in the case of a person serving on a municipal board, a copy of the disclosure shall be filed with the board. Any disclosure made to a board shall be made publicly at a meeting of the board and must be included in the minutes of the meeting.
No Town officer or employee may participate in any decision or take any official action with respect to any matter requiring the exercise of discretion, including discussing the matter and voting on it, when he/she knows or has reason to know that the action could confer a direct or indirect financial or material benefit on himself/herself, a relative, or any private organization in which he/she is deemed to have an interest.
In the event that this section prohibits a Town officer or employee from exercising or performing a power or duty:
If the power or duty is vested in a Town officer or employee as a member of a board, then the power or duty shall be exercised or performed by the other members of the board; or
If the power or duty is vested in a Town officer or employee individually, then the power or duty shall be exercised or performed by his/her deputy or if the officer or employee does not have a deputy, the power or duty shall be performed by another person to whom the officer may lawfully delegate the function.
If the power or duty is vested in a Town officer or employee, he/she must refer the matter to his/her immediate supervisor, and the immediate supervisor shall designate another person to exercise or perform the power or duty.
This Town code’s prohibition on use of a Town position, disclosure requirements and requirements relating to recusal and abstention shall not apply with respect to the following matters:
Adoption of the municipality’s annual budget.
Any matter that does not require the exercise of discretion.
Recusal and abstention shall not be required with respect to any matter:
Which comes before a board when a majority of the board's total membership would otherwise be prohibited from acting by this code.
Which comes before a Town officer or employee when the officer would be prohibited from acting by this code and the matter cannot be lawfully delegated to another person.
The Board of Ethics shall nave the blowing powers and duties:
To advise and assist any local official in establishing rules and regulations relating to possible conflicts between private interests and official duties of present or former elected officials, local party officials and local officers and employees.
To prepare an annual report to the Supervisor and the Town Board summarizing the activities of the Board of Ethics and recommending changes in the laws governing the conduct of local elected officials and officers and employees of the Town covered by this chapter.
Upon written request from any person who is subject to the jurisdiction of the Board of Ethics, the Board of Ethics shall render advisory opinions on the requirements of said provisions. An opinion rendered by the Board of Ethics, until and unless amended or revoked, shall be binding on the Board of Ethics in any subsequent proceeding concerning the person who requested the opinion and who acted in good faith, unless material facts were omitted or misstated by the person in the request for an opinion. Such opinion may also be relied upon by such person and may be introduced and shall be a defense in any criminal or civil action. Such requests shall be confidential, but the Board of Ethics may publish such opinions, provided that the name of the requesting person and other identifying details shall not be included in the publication.
In addition to any other powers and duties specified by this chapter, the Board of Ethics shall have the power and duty to:
Administer and enforce all the provisions of this chapter.
Conduct any investigation necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter. Pursuant to this power and duty, the Board may administer oaths or affirmations, subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance and require the production of any books or records which it may deem relevant or material.
Members of the Board of Ethics shall not receive compensation but shall be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties.
The Board of Ethics shall be empowered to request a support staff and assistance from the Town Board or Supervisor in furtherance of its duties and responsibilities.