[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Hudson by Ord. No. 17-90, amended 3-4-1991. 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 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 City of Hudson officials and employees, whether elected or appointed, paid or unpaid, including members of boards, committees and commissions of the city. 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 City of Hudson and by directing disclosure by such officials and employees of private financial or other interests in matters affecting the city. 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 City of Hudson.
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 the United States and 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. Their conduct in both their official and private affairs should be above reproach so as to foster respect for all government.
All officials and employees of the City of Hudson should be loyal to the objectives 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.
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 so doing by law or by officially recognized confidentiality of their work.
Use of public property. No official or employee shall request or permit the unauthorized use of city-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 his official duties in the public interest contrary to the provisions of this chapter or would tend to impair his independence of judgment or action in the performance of his 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 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 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 city, nor shall he use such information to advance the financial or other private interest of himself or others.
Gifts and favors. No official or employee shall accept any valuable gift or gifts, whether in the form of service, loan, thing or promise, having an aggregate value of more than $50 within any calendar year from any person, firm or corporation who or which to his knowledge is interested, directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever in business dealings with the city, nor shall any such official or employee accept any gift or gifts, favor or thing of value having an aggregate value of more than $50 within any calendar year that may tend to influence him in the discharge of his duties or grant in the discharge of his duties any improper favor, service or thing of value. Gifts received under unusual circumstances should be referred to the Finance Committee within 10 days for recommended disposition.
Representing private interests before city agencies or courts. No officer or employee shall appear on behalf of any private person, other than himself, his spouse or minor children, before any city agency or Municipal Court. However, a member of the Common Council may appear before city 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.
Contracts with the city. No city 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 city unless, within the confines of W.S.A. s. 946.13:
The contract is awarded through a process of public notice and competitive bidding; or
Disclosure of interest in legislation. Any member of the Common Council who has a financial interest or personal interest in any proposed legislation before the Common Council shall disclose on the records of the Common Council or the Finance Committee the nature and extent of such interest. Any other official or employee who has a financial or personal interest in any proposed legislative action of the Common Council and who participates in discussion with or gives an official opinion or recommendation to the Common Council shall disclose on the records of the Common Council the nature and extent of such interest.
Campaign contributions shall be reported by all candidates for city office in strict conformity with the provisions of the Wisconsin statutes. Any campaign contribution tendered to or accepted by a candidate subsequent to the final statutory report shall be reported to the Finance Committee.
All employees, including elected officials, have the right to freely express their views as citizens and cast their votes, subject to the following:
No employee or elected official shall directly or indirectly use or seek to use his/her authority or the influence of his/her position to control or modify the political action of another person.
No employee or elected official, during his/her hours of duty, shall, except as provided by law, engage in political activities, including:
Campaigning for any candidate or political party.
Making campaign speeches or engaging in other activities to elect a candidate.
Collecting contributions or selling tickets to political fund-raising functions.
Distributing campaign material in any election.
Organizing or managing political meetings.
Circulating nominating petitions.
Displaying political badges, buttons or stickers in any city building or wearing such items during working hours.
No employee or elected official shall at any time use any city-owned or city-leased equipment for any political activity.
No employee shall be removed, discharged, reduced in pay or position or otherwise discriminated against because of that employee's political opinions or affiliations, except as provided for in this chapter.
Employees whose principal employment is in a federal grant aided program are subject to prohibitions in the Federal Hatch Political Activities Act, as amended, 5 U.S.C. §§ 1501 through 1508.
Any questions as to the interpretation of any provisions of this Code of Ethics shall be referred to the Finance Committee and/or Common Council, which, if it deems it necessary or appropriate, may request an advisory opinion from the City Attorney.
The Finance Committee shall have administrative jurisdiction over this Code of Ethics and shall be deemed the Ethics Committee for that purpose.
The Committee may make recommendations with respect to amendments to this Code of Ethics.
Upon the sworn complaint of any person alleging facts which, if true, would constitute improper conduct under the provisions of this chapter, the Committee shall conduct an investigation of the facts of the complaint. If the investigation indicates that there may be a reasonable basis for the complaint justifying further investigation, the Committee shall conduct a public hearing in accordance with the common law requirements of due process, including notice, an 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. 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 Common Council for final disposition.
[Amended by Ord. No. 11-93]
In the event that a member of the Finance Committee is allegedly involved in an Ethics Code violation, the Mayor, subject to the confirmation of the Common Council, shall appoint another Alderperson to temporarily replace the member of the Committee who is under investigation.
In the event that 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.
Violation of any provision of this chapter may constitute a cause of 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 City Clerk shall cause a copy of this Code of Ethics to be distributed to every public official and employee of the City of Hudson within 30 days after enactment of this code. Each public official and employee elected, appointed or engaged thereafter shall be furnished a copy before entering upon his or her duties.