[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of East Hampton 9-4-1975; amended 1-28-1997. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The proper operation of democratic government requires that public officials and employees be independent, impartial and responsible to the people; that government decisions and policies be made in proper channels of the governmental structure; and that public office not be used for personal gain. The public judges its government by the way public officials and employees conduct themselves in the posts to which they are elected or appointed. The people have a right to expect that all public officials and employees will conduct themselves in a manner that will tend to preserve public confidence in, and respect for, the government they represent.
Such confidence and respect can best be promoted if every appointed or elected public official and employee, whether paid or unpaid, will uniformly:
The purpose of this chapter is to establish guidelines for ethical standards of conduct for all such officials and employees by setting forth those acts or actions that are incompatible with the best interests of the Town and by directing disclosure by such officials and employees of private financial or other interests in matters affecting the Town.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- BUSINESS ENTITY
- Any business, proprietorship, firm, partnership, person in a representative or fiduciary capacity, association, venture, trust or corporation, whether paid or unpaid, including members of any board, committee or commission thereof.
- A direct or indirect pecuniary or material benefit accruing to a public officer or employee as a result of a contract or transaction which is or may be the subject of an official act or action by or with the Town of East Hampton, except for such contracts or transactions which by their terms and by the substance of their provisions confer the opportunity and right to realize the accrual of similar benefits to all other persons and/or property similarly situated. For the purposes of this code, a public officer or employee shall be deemed to have an interest in the affairs of:
- A. Any person related to him by blood or marriage in a degree closer than the fourth degree consanguinity or affinity (determined by the civil law method), and a divorce or separation between spouses shall not be deemed to terminate any such relationship;
- B. Any person or business entity with whom a contractual relationship exists with the public officer or employee;
- C. Any business entity in which the public officer or employee is an officer, director, or member having a financial interest in, or employed by;
- D. Any business entity in which the stock of, or legal or beneficial ownership of, in excess of 5% of the total stock or total legal and beneficial ownership, is controlled or owned directly or indirectly by the public officer or employee.
- OFFICIAL ACT OR ACTION
- Any legislative, administrative, appointive or discretionary act of any officer or employee of the Town of East Hampton or any agency, board, committee or commission thereof.
Editor's Note: See materials included at the end of this chapter for a description of consanguinity.
The requirements herein set forth shall constitute a code of ethics establishing reasonable standards and guidelines for the ethical conduct of public officers and employees of the Town of East Hampton.
Interest in contract or transaction.
No public officer or employee having the power or duty to perform an official act or action, related to a contract or transaction which is or may be the subject of an official act or action of the Town of East Hampton, shall:
Have or thereafter acquire an interest in such contract or transaction; or
Have an interest in any business entity representing, advising or appearing on behalf of, whether paid or unpaid, any person involved in such contract or transaction; or
Have solicited or accepted present or future employment with a person or business entity involved in such contract or transaction; or
Have solicited, accepted or granted a present or future gift, favor, service or thing of value from or to a person involved in such contract or transaction, except as provided in Subsection A(2); or
Have encouraged, made or accepted any ex parte or unilateral application or communication where a determination is to be made after a public hearing and such public employee fails to make the contents of the communication a part of the record.
The prohibition against gifts or favors in Subsection A(1)(d) shall not apply to:
Preacquisition of interest. No public officer or employee, with respect to any contract or transaction which is or may be the subject of an official act or action of the Town of East Hampton, shall acquire an interest in or affected by such contract or transaction at a time when the public employee believes or has reason to believe that it will directly or indirectly be affected by an official act or action of the Town of East Hampton.
Disclosure of information. No public officer or employee, with respect to any contract or transaction which is or may be the subject of an official act or action of the Town of East Hampton, shall, without proper legal authorization, disclose confidential information concerning the property, government or affairs of the Town or use such information to advance the financial or other private interest of himself or others.
Incompatible service. No public officer or employee shall engage in or accept private employment or render service, for private interest, when such employment or service is incompatible with the proper discharge of his official duties or would tend to impair his independence of judgment or action in the performance of his official duties, unless otherwise permitted by law and unless disclosure is made as provided in this code.
Appearances. No public officer or employee shall appear on behalf of any private person, other than himself, his spouse or minor children, before any Town agency or court. However, a member of the Town Council may appear before Town agencies on behalf of his constituents in the course of his duties as a representative of the electorate or in the performance of public or civic obligations.
Public contracts. No public officer or employee who in his capacity as such officer or employee participates in the making of a contract in which he has a private pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, or performs in regard to that contract some function requiring the exercise of discretion on his part, shall enter into any contract with the Town unless:
Public property. No public officer or employee shall request or permit the unauthorized use of Town-owned vehicles, equipment, materials or property for personal convenience or profit.
Special treatment. No public officer or employee shall grant any special consideration, treatment or advantage to any citizens beyond that which is available to every other citizen.
Later case interest. No public officer or employee shall, after the termination of service or employment with the Town, appear before any board, commission, committee or agency of the Town 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.
It shall not be deemed a violation of the standards of the code if the interest of a public officer or employee in a person or business entity is a contractual obligation of less than $500 which has not been preceded by any other obligation, discharged or existing, between the parties, and which is not the first in a series of two or more loans or debts which either of the parties is under an obligation to make or incur.
A commercially reasonable loan made in the ordinary course of business by an institution authorized by the laws of this state to engage in the making of such loans shall not be deemed to create an interest in violation of this code.
A contract for a commercial retail sale, even though over the value of $500, shall not be deemed to create an interest in violation of this code.
Any member of the Town Council who has a financial interest or personal interest in any proposed action before the Town Council shall disclose on the record of the Town Council the nature and extent of such interest.
Any other official or employee who has a financial or personal interest in any proposed action of the Town Council and who participates in discussion with or gives an official opinion or recommendation to the Town Council shall disclose on the record of the Town Council the nature and extent of such interest.