Ethical conduct by public officers and employees assures public confidence in County government. In addition to and not in any way in conflict with germane provisions of Article 18 of the General Municipal Law of New York State or any other general or special state law relating to ethical conduct and interest in contracts of municipal officers and employees, this article, the Code of Ethics of the County of Ulster, and attendant provisions of the County Administrative Code provide rules of ethical conduct for the officers and employees of the County of Ulster and methods for assuring adherence to them.
[Amended 8-14-2012 by L.L. No. 9-2012]
There shall be a Board of Ethics consisting of five members appointed by the County Executive, subject to the confirmation of the County Legislature. Board of Ethics members shall serve without compensation and for a term of five years. No more than two members shall be of the same political party. Members of the Board of Ethics shall receive no compensation for services rendered but shall be entitled to their reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties, within appropriations made for such purposes. Vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired term.
The County Legislature shall vote on any nominee of the County Executive to the Board of Ethics. The Legislature shall vote on the confirmation of such individual at its next regular meeting at least 30 days after such nomination has been made by the County Executive. If the Legislature fails to vote upon the proposed appointment or appointments, the proposed appointment or appointments shall be deemed confirmed. When an appointment is not confirmed by the Legislature, but such appointment was considered at a regular meeting of the Legislature, the appointment of the same individual for the same position may not be resubmitted by the County Executive for 12 months after the Legislature votes upon the proposed appointment.
Notwithstanding the preceding portions of this section of the County Charter, the existing members of the Board of Ethics, existing as of December 31, 2012, shall be reappointed by the County Executive for initial terms of one, two, three, four, or five years, unless they decline such nomination, such terms to take effect January 1, 2013. Upon the expiration of such initial term, the term of office for any person nominated or renominated to the Board of Ethics shall be for five years. Confirmation by the Legislature of such appointees for initial terms of one, two, three, four, or five years shall not be required, provided such person has previously been confirmed by the County Legislature to membership on the Board of Ethics and such person was a member of such Board on December 31, 2012. If a member of the Board of Ethics in office as of December 31, 2012, declines reappointment, then any other such person nominated for a term of year(s) effective January 1, 2013, shall require confirmation of the Legislature pursuant to the provisions of § C-106A and B.
Editor's Note: This local law was approved at referendum by a majority of the duly qualified voters 11-6-2012.
The Board of Ethics shall render advisory opinions to the officers and employees of the County of Ulster with respect to Article 18 of the General Municipal Law, the Code of Ethics of the County of Ulster, and Administrative Code. Such advisory opinions shall be rendered in response to written request from any such officer or employee under such rules and regulations as the Board may prescribe.
The Board may also accept from the general public or from any of its own members a complaint or allegation of conflict of interest of any officer or employee of Ulster County. All such complaints or allegations are to be kept in the confidential records of the Board. Should the Board determine that there appears to be merit in the complaint or allegation, it shall send a written invitation to the officer or employee in question to appear at a private meeting of the Board and explain the apparent conflict of interest. Should such officer or employee fail to appear in response to such invitation or should he or she appear and fail to satisfy the Board that there is no conflict of interest, the Board shall send a written report on the matter to the County Executive. The report shall not be made public except by the County Executive or by the unanimous vote of the Board.
In addition, the Board may make recommendations with respect to the County Code of Ethics or amendments thereto upon the request of the Ulster County Legislature.
The Board, upon its formulation, shall promulgate its own rules and regulations as to its forms and procedures and shall maintain records of its opinions and proceedings. Copies of all rules and regulations promulgated by the Board and any and all amendments thereto which may be adopted from time to time shall be filed with the Clerk of the Ulster County Legislature.
The Board shall not act with respect to the officers and employees of any municipality located within the County or agency thereof where such municipality has established its own Board of Ethics, except that the local board may, at its option, refer matters to the County Board.