[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Balsam Lake 8-2-1999 by Ord. No. 1999-5. 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 policy be made in proper channels of the governmental structure; that public office not be used for personal gain; and that the public have confidence in the integrity of its government. In recognition of these goals, there is hereby established a Code of Ethics for all Village of Balsam Lake officials and employees, whether elected or appointed, paid or unpaid, including members of boards, committees and commissions of the Village as well as any individuals who are candidates for elective office as soon as such individuals file nomination papers with the Village. The purpose of this code 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 Village of Balsam Lake and by directing disclosure by such officials and employees of private financial or other interests in matters affecting the Village. The provisions and purpose of this code and such rules and regulations as may be established are hereby declared to be in the best interests of the Village of Balsam Lake.
There are certain provisions of the Wisconsin Statutes which should, while not set forth herein, be considered an integral part of any Code of Ethics. Accordingly, the provisions of the following sections of the Wisconsin Statutes are made a part of this Code of Ethics and shall apply to public officials and employees whenever applicable:
Public officials and employees are agents of public purpose and hold office for the benefit of the public. They are bound to uphold the Constitution of this state and carry out impartially the laws of the nation, state and municipality and to observe in their official acts the highest standards of morality and to discharge faithfully the duties of their office regardless of personal considerations, recognizing that the public interest must be their prime concern.
Loyalty; adherence to rules of work and performance. All officials and employees of the Village of Balsam Lake should be loyal to the objective expressed by the electorate and the programs developed to attain these objectives. Appointive officials and employees should adhere to the rules of work and performance established as the standard for their positions by the appropriate authority.
Authority; breach of law; cooperation with officials and employees. Officials and employees should not exceed their authority or breach the law or ask others to do so, and they should work in full cooperation with other public officials and employees unless prohibited from doing so by law or by the officially recognized confidentiality of their work.
Use of public property. No official or employee shall request or permit the unauthorized use of Village-owned vehicles, equipment, materials or property for personal convenience or profit.
Obligations to citizens. No official or employee shall grant any special consideration, treatment or advantage to any citizen beyond that which is available to every other citizen.
Financial and personal interest prohibited. No official or employee, whether paid or unpaid, shall engage in any business or transaction or shall act in regard to financial or other personal interest, direct or indirect, which is incompatible with the proper discharge of official duties in the public interest contrary to the provisions of this chapter or which would tend to impair independence of judgment or action in the performance of official duties.
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- FINANCIAL INTEREST
- Any interest which shall yield, directly or indirectly, a monetary or other material benefit to the officer or employee or to any person employing or retaining the services of the officer or employee.
- Any person, corporation, partnership or joint venture.
- PERSONAL INTEREST
- Any interest arising from blood or marriage relationships or from close business or political associations, whether or not any financial interest is involved.
Specific conflicts enumerated.
Incompatible employment. No official 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 official duties or would tend to impair official duties, unless otherwise permitted by law and unless disclosure is made as hereinafter provided.
Disclosure of confidential information. No official or employee shall, without proper legal authorization, disclose confidential information concerning the property, government or affairs of the Village, nor shall such information be used to advance the financial or other private interest of the official or employee or others.
Gifts and favors.
No official or employee shall accept any gift, whether in the form of service, loan, thing or promise, from any person which may tend to impair his or her independence of judgment or action in the performance of his or her duties or grant in the discharge of his or her duties any improper favor, service or thing of value. Any official who receives, directly or indirectly, any gift or gifts having an aggregate value of more than $50 within any calendar year from any person who is known by said official or employee to be interested directly or indirectly in any manner whatsoever in business dealings with the Village upon which the official or employee has any influence or input or over which the official or employee has any jurisdiction, discretion or control shall disclose the nature and value of such gifts to the Labor Committee by January 20 next following the year in which the gift or gifts are received.
No official or employee may solicit or accept, either directly or indirectly, from any person or organization, money or anything of value if it could reasonably be expected to influence the official's or employee's official actions or judgments or be considered a reward for any action or inaction on the part of the official or employee.
An official or employee is not to accept hospitality if after consideration of the surrounding circumstances it could reasonably by concluded that such hospitality would not be extended were it not for the fact that the guest or member of the guest's immediate family was a Village official or employee. Participation in celebrations, grand openings, open houses, informational meetings, and similar events is excluded from this prohibition. This subsection further shall not be construed to prevent candidates for elective office from accepting hospitality from citizens for the purpose of supporting the candidate's campaign.
Gifts received by any official or employee under unusual circumstances should be referred to the Labor Committee within 10 days of receipt for recommended disposition.
Representing private interests before Village agencies or courts. No officer or employee shall appear on behalf of any private person (other than himself or herself, his or her spouse or minor children) before any Village agency or municipal court. However, members of the Village Board may appear before Village agencies on behalf of constituents in the course of their duties as representatives of the electorate or in the performance of public or civic obligations.
Upon the sworn complaint of any person alleging facts which, if true, would constitute improper conduct under the provisions of this chapter, the Labor Committee shall conduct an investigation. If a reasonable basis for the complaint is determined, the Committee shall conduct a public hearing in accordance with the common law requirements of due process including notice and opportunity to be heard; an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and to present testimony and other evidence in support of the accused's position; and an opportunity to be represented by counsel or other representative at the expense of the accused. The Committee shall make written findings of fact and issue a written decision concerning the propriety of the conduct of the subject official or employee and shall refer the matter to the Village Board for final disposition.
In the event a member of the Labor Committee is allegedly involved in an Ethics Code violation, the Village President, subject to confirmation of the Village Board, shall appoint another Village Board member to temporarily replace the member of the Committee who is under investigation.
In the event an employee covered under a collective bargaining agreement is allegedly involved in an Ethics Code violation, the terms and conditions set forth in the applicable collective bargaining agreement shall prevail in the administration and interpretation of this Ethics Code.
A determination that an official's or employee's actions constitute improper conduct under the provisions of this chapter may constitute a cause for suspension, removal from office or employment or other disciplinary action.
Sanctions, including any disciplinary action, that may affect employees covered under a labor agreement will be consistent with the terms and conditions set forth in the applicable labor agreement.
The Village Clerk-Treasurer shall cause a copy of this Code of Ethics to be distributed to every public official and employee of the Village of Balsam Lake within 30 days after taking office or hired date.