Town of Newtown, CT
Fairfield County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Newtown 10-6-1975 ATM (Ord. No. 43). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Commissions and committees — See Ch. 20.
Officers and employees — See Ch. 62.
A. 
The proper operation of democratic government requires that public officials, employees and other persons involved in the governmental process, and in the services rendered by government, be independent, impartial and responsible to the people; that government decisions and policy be made in the 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 this Code of Ethics is established with the purpose of setting forth guidelines, standards and limitations consistent with the best interests of the Town of Newtown. Public interest must be the primary concern of those who are included within the scope of this code.
B. 
Inclusion. Those persons, hereinafter referred to as "officials" and/or "employees," bound by this Code of Ethics are as follows:
(1) 
Elected or appointed officials of the Town, either paid or unpaid (voluntary).
(2) 
Elected members and alternates of all boards and commissions.
(3) 
Appointed members and alternates of all boards, commissions, committees and authorities, hereinafter referred to as "boards and commissions," and Town-supported public services.
(4) 
Employees, which includes paid consultants, of the Town and of all boards, commissions, committees and authorities, including the Board of Education.
(5) 
Organizations or persons that provide Town-sponsored services to the public.
Officials and employees have a special responsibility, by virtue of the trust invested in them by the Town's residents, to discharge their duties conscientiously, impartially, and to the best of their ability, placing the good of the Town above any personal or partisan considerations
A. 
Officials and employees have an obligation to act morally and honestly in discharging all assigned responsibilities.
B. 
Officials and employees will conduct themselves with propriety, discharge their duties impartially and fairly, and make continuing efforts toward attaining and maintaining high standards of performance.
C. 
Individuals who consent to serve on Town boards or commissions are expected to devote the necessary time and effort to these commitments.
D. 
No official or employee shall use, or attempt to use, either directly or indirectly, his or her Town position to secure any preferential right, benefit, advantage or privilege for himself or herself or for others, including without limitation in relation to his or her occupation or source of income.
E. 
Should an official or employee be requested or ordered to perform an illegal act or an act that conflicts with this Code of Ethics, that individual should be guided by standards of morality rather than by standards of expediency and should refuse to comply with such a request or order. This principle is not to be construed as encouraging arbitrary or capricious nonconformity with job assignments, but to ensure that all officials and employees recognize that the responsibility for ethical conduct ultimately rests with each individual.
Officials and employees often have access to vehicles, equipment, supplies, property, labor and other Town resources in connection with the conduct of their official business. Since there may be instances where the distinction between the use of such resources for official purposes and for personal convenience or advantage may be ambiguous, it is incumbent upon all such individuals to make absolutely certain that there be no misuse of public property.
A. 
Town-owned vehicles, equipment, supplies, property, labor and other Town resources will be used only for the conduct of official business except when such resources are available to the public generally or the use is publicly disclosed and approved by the Board of Selectmen.
B. 
The abuse of Town property or resources is an unethical practice. Town property which is legitimately placed in the trust of an official or employee will be preserved and cared for to the best of his or her ability.
C. 
Requests for Town reimbursement for travel, lodgings or any other expenses incurred in connection with nonofficial business, or for family members of officials or employees or others who are not on official business, represents a breach of ethical behavior.
Officials and employees represent the Town to the public and reflect the relationship between the Town and the public. When relating to the community, officials and employees must bear in mind their role as public servants. Everyone, no matter what his or her status, deserves to be treated courteously, impartially and fairly. Each is entitled to all of the benefits and services available to each and every other individual in like circumstances.
A. 
Officials and employees will make every reasonable effort to inform the public of its rights to Town services.
B. 
Officials and employees will treat the public with tact and courtesy and give proper and expeditious consideration to the public's needs. They must exercise self-restraint even when stressful situations arise. However, officials and employees do have the right to express their views firmly and clearly.
C. 
Should an official or employee be requested to perform an unethical act it must be declined, with proper explanation.
D. 
Officials and employees will refrain from granting preferential treatment to any person.
E. 
While this section deals with the treatment of the public by officials and employees, the relationship between the former and the latter is recognized to be a two-way interaction. It is therefore urged that the public also conduct itself with the same propriety expected of Town officials and employees.
Officials and employees often have occupations, professions, businesses, or have financial or personal interests, that relate to or interface with Town operation and government. It is expected that officials and employees will be acutely sensitive to possible conflict of interest issues and that they will conduct themselves in a manner that will scrupulously avoid any conflict of interest.
A. 
Officials and employees shall not use their office or Town employment or special knowledge about Town affairs obtained in connection with their office or position in the Town to procure contracts with the Town. Also, they shall not disseminate this information to another person for personal advantage unless this information is available to the general public.
B. 
Officials and employees shall not offer or render preferential treatment to others on the basis of such factors as family ties, financial interests, friendship or political consideration.
C. 
Officials and employees shall not offer or render preferential treatment to others in regard to Town contracts on the basis of such factors as family ties, financial interests, friendship or political considerations.
D. 
Officials and employees shall refrain from attempting to influence anyone concerning the awarding of Town contracts on the basis of such factors as their business, family or political relationship with any of the individuals involved.
E. 
An official or employee who has any financial or other private interest in any official action under consideration shall disqualify himself or herself from participating in the deliberation and decision-making thereupon.
F. 
No employee, with the exception of Fire Commissioners, of the Town shall be appointed to any board, commission or other Town body that deliberates and/or makes decisions directly or indirectly affecting that employee's remuneration or working conditions.
Because of their position in Town administration, officials and employees have access to information that may not be in the public domain. A delicate balance exists between the public's right to know about Town affairs and the actions of elected and appointed officials and officers on the one hand, and the rights of the individual to privacy with respect to matters that are not in the public domain on the other hand. Additionally, during the course of certain preliminary procedures, such as Town negotiations with bargaining groups, the premature disclosure of specific positions would be detrimental to the public interest. Such information as is cited above is confidential. Confidential information is any information not in the public record and which is obtained only by reason of an official's or employee's position. Therefore, the interests of the public, the Town, and the individual must all be preserved and maintained in proper harmony with one another.
A. 
No official or employee shall, without prior formal authorization of the public body having jurisdiction, disclose any confidential information or divulge personal matters pertaining to others that do not bear upon the official's or employee's discharge of official duties.
B. 
Whether or not it shall involve disclosure, no official or employee shall use or permit the use of confidential information to advance his or her financial or personal interest or to advance or to damage the financial or personal interest of any other person.
Officials and employees, because of their positions in Town, may be offered gifts, loans or privileges in the expectation of influencing their actions and/or decisions in favor of the giver. Such offerings are in effect bribes, and the acceptance of such is unethical.
A. 
Officials and employees shall not accept gifts, loans or privileges offered them because of their positions in Town in the expectation of influencing their actions or decisions.
B. 
It is unethical for an official or employee to give preferential treatment in response to gifts, loans or privileges offered to family or business associates.
C. 
Subsections A and B do not preclude the acceptance of gifts at the time of retirement or at public occasions held to honor an official or employee. The public honoring of an individual makes gifts appropriate and acceptable.
D. 
If it is impossible or inappropriate to refuse a gift or offering, then it shall be turned over to an appropriate public or charitable institution.
E. 
The courtesies that are associated with the normal daily business routine are not disallowed.
Unpaid officials normally have regular full-time employment, and Town employees may have employment in addition to their employment with the Town. Officials and employees have a responsibility to perform their Town duties unencumbered by conflicting demands placed upon them by virtue of their commitment to other employment.
A. 
No official or employee shall engage in or accept private or other public employment or render services for private interests when such employment or services are incompatible with the proper discharge of official duties or would tend to impair independence of judgment or action in the performance of Town duties.
B. 
Officials and employees shall disqualify themselves from all discussions, attempts at influencing the views of others, and decision-making with respect to any issue in which their employment may conflict with their Town position.
A. 
General statement. The disclosure by officials and certain employees of specified holdings and associations seeks to deter unethical conduct by giving the public access to information about areas of potential conflict of interest. The very disclosure of outside interests will increase public confidence in government by dispelling possible suspicion.
B. 
Specific principle. All elected officials, members of all elected and appointed boards and commissions, the Financial Director and the Town Counsel shall file with the Town Clerk and the Board of Ethics a listing of real estate holdings, partially or wholly owned, which are located within or partially within the Town of Newtown, and the identity of any business associations or interests which may impinge on Town affairs, within 30 days of election or appointment. Any change in these holdings or business associations must be filed within 30 days of such change. Ownership of the official's or employee's primary residence need not be included in the disclosure. The information filed with the Town Clerk will be available to the public.
All officials and employees are free to engage in political activity to the widest extent consistent with the proper discharge of their official Town duties and fair and equal treatment of all Town people. The achievement of this objective does, however, require certain limitations.
A. 
Officials and employees shall not allow partisan political activities to interfere with the proper discharge of their official duties.
B. 
No official or employee shall be ordered to participate in political activities.