[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Trenton 11-7-1989 as Title 2, Ch. 6 of the 1989 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Terms used in this chapter are defined as follows:
- PUBLIC EMPLOYEE
- Any person excluded from the definition of a public officer who is employed by the Town.
- PUBLIC OFFICER
- Those persons serving in statutory elected or appointed offices provided for in Ch. 60, Wis. Stats., and all members appointed to boards, committees and commissions established or appointed by the Town Chairperson and/or Town Board, whether paid or unpaid.
It is declared that high ethical standards among Town officers and employees are essential to the conduct of good representative government and that a Code of Ethics for the guidance of public officers and employees will help them avoid conflicts with improved standards of public service and will promote and strengthen the confidence of the residents of the Town in their public officers and employees. The purpose of this chapter is to establish guidelines for ethical standards of conduct for all such Town officers and employees by setting forth those acts or actions that are incompatible with the public interest and which compromise, or appear to compromise, public trust in the fairness, independence and integrity of Town officers and employees and their official actions.
The provisions of the following sections of the Wisconsin Statutes, as from time to time amended, are made a part of this chapter and shall apply to all public officers and public employees whenever applicable:
Use of public property. No public officer or employee shall use or permit the use of Town vehicles, equipment, materials or property for personal convenience or profit, except when such services are available to the public generally or are provided as Town policy for the use of such officer or employee in the conduct of official business, as authorized by the Town Board or authorized board, commission or committee.
Conflicts of interest; disclosure of interest. Except as provided herein, no public officer or public employee shall engage in any business transaction with the Town, or have a financial or other personal interest, direct or indirect, which is incompatible with the proper discharge of his official duties or will tend to impair his independence of judgment or action in the performance of his official duties. Any public officer or employee who has a substantial financial interest, including employment, in any business entity entering into, proposing to enter into or bidding on any transaction with the Town, or as part of his official duties will be making an official decision or recommendation significantly affecting a business competitor, client or regular customer, shall disclose such interest to the membership of the Town Board (or committee, board or commission thereof, as appropriate) to be recorded in the minutes of that body. Upon such disclosure, it is advised that the public officer or employee abstain from voting on the matter and from participating in the discussion of the matter.
Representing private interests before the Town Board or Town agencies. No public officer or employee, including persons or firms engaged to provide professional services to the Town, shall represent, for compensation, private interests before the Town Board or any board, commission or committee without disclosure of the private business relationship and explicit consent of the Town Board.
Disclosure of confidential information. No public officer or employee shall, without proper authorization of the Town Board, disclose confidential information concerning the property, government or affairs of the Town, nor shall he use such information to advance the financial or other private interest of himself or others.
Gifts and favors. No public officer or employee shall accept anything of value, whether in the form of a gift, service, loan or promise, from any person who, to his knowledge, has a direct financial interest in any transaction or official business with the Town which may tend to impair his independence of judgment or action in the performance of his official duties. However, it is not a conflict of interest for any public officer or employee to receive a gift or gratuity that is an unsolicited item of nominal intrinsic value, such as a meal up to $10 in value.
Outside employment. No full-time officer of the Town shall engage in any other remunerative employment within or without the Town, provided that the Town Board may approve such outside employment or activity if it finds that it does not interfere or conflict with such ability of the officer or employee to perform his duties in an efficient and unbiased manner.
Any questions as to the interpretation of any provisions of this chapter shall be referred to the Town Attorney for an advisory opinion.