[Amended 6-9-2009 by Ord. No. 09-O-03; 8-9-2011 by Ord. No. 11-O-10]
In this section, "qualified relative" means a spouse, parent, child, domestic partner or sibling.
All City elected officials, officials appointed to City boards and commissions subject to this chapter and employees are subject to this section.
Participation prohibitions. Except as permitted by commission regulation or opinion, an official or employee may not participate in:
Except in the exercise of an administrative or ministerial duty that does not affect the disposition or decision of the matter, any matter in which, to the knowledge of the official or employee, the official or employee, or a qualified relative of the official or employee has an interest.
Except in the exercise of an administrative or ministerial duty that does not affect the disposition or decision with respect to the matter, any matter in which any of the following is a party:
A business entity in which the official or employee has a direct financial interest of which the official or employee may reasonably be expected to know;
A business entity for which the official, employee, or a qualified relative of the official or employee is an officer, director, trustee, partner, or employee;
A business entity with which the official or employee or, to the knowledge of the official or employee, a qualified relative is negotiating or has any arrangement concerning prospective employment.
If the contract reasonably could be expected to result in a conflict between the private interests of the official or employee and the official duties of the official or employee, a business entity that is a party to an existing contract with the official or employee, or which, to the knowledge of the official or employee, is a party to a contract with a qualified relative;
An entity, doing business with the city, in which a direct financial interest is owned by another entity in which the official or employee has a direct financial interest, if the official or employee may be reasonably expected to know of both direct financial interests; or
A business entity that:
The official or employee knows is a creditor or obligee of the official or employee or a qualified relative of the official or employee with respect to a thing of economic value; and
As a creditor or obligee, is in a position to directly and substantially affect the interest of the official or employee or a qualified relative of the official or employee.
A person who is disqualified from participating under Subsection C(1) or (2) of this section shall disclose the nature and circumstances of the conflict and may participate or act if:
A former regulated lobbyist who is or becomes subject to this chapter as an employee or official, other than an elected official or an appointed official, may not participate in a case, contract, or other specific matter as an employee or official, other than an elected official or appointed official, for one calendar year after the termination of the registration of the former regulated lobbyist if the former regulated lobbyist previously assisted or represented another party for compensation in the matter.
[Added 9-11-2018 by Ord. No. 18-O-08]
Employment and financial interest restrictions.
Except as permitted by regulation of the Commission when the interest is disclosed or when the employment does not create a conflict of interest or appearance of conflict, an official or employee may not:
Be employed by or have a financial interest in any entity:
Hold any other employment relationship that would impair the impartiality or independence of judgment of the official or employee.
This prohibition does not apply to:
An official or employee who is appointed to a regulatory or licensing authority pursuant to a statutory requirement that persons subject to the jurisdiction of the authority be represented in appointments to the authority;
Subject to other provisions of law, a member of a board or commission in regard to a financial interest or employment held at the time of appointment, provided the financial interest or employment is publicly disclosed to the appointing authority and the Commission;
An official or employee whose duties are ministerial, if the private employment or financial interest does not create a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest, as permitted and in accordance with regulations adopted by the Commission;
Employment or financial interests allowed by regulation of the Commission if the employment does not create a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest or the financial interest is disclosed;
Decisions relating to the property tax rate, general City fees or service charges or a comprehensive zoning ordinance or similar matter are not considered to have direct financial impact to the extent that a Council member would be affected in common with the general public; or
Participation by Council members in Council action relating to, and voting on, the annual budget in its entirety, when one or more items in the annual budget would have a direct financial impact, as distinguished from the public generally, on a Council member, his or her employer, family member or any business entity in which he or she has an interest, the Council member must first file with the Ethics Commission a sworn statement that describes the conflict. Council members may not propose, seek to remove, or participate in the Council's discussion of any budget item that creates such a conflict.
Post-employment limitations and restrictions.
A former official or employee may not assist or represent any party other than the City for compensation in a case, contract, or other specific matter involving the City if that matter is one in which the former official or employee significantly participated as an official or employee.
For two calendar years after the elected official leaves office, a former Mayor or member of the City Council may not assist or represent another party for compensation in a matter that is the subject of legislative action.
[Amended 9-11-2018 by Ord. No. 18-O-08]
Contingent compensation. Except in a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding, an official or employee may not assist or represent a party for contingent compensation in any matter before or involving the city.
Use of prestige of office.
[Amended 9-11-2018 by Ord. No. 18-O-08]
An official or employee may not intentionally use the prestige of office or public position:
For the private gain of that official or employee or the private gain of another; or
To influence, except as part of the official duties of the official or employee or as a usual and customary constituent service without additional compensation, the award of a state or local contract to a specific person.
An official may not directly or indirectly initiate a solicitation for a person to retain the compensated services of a particular regulated lobbyist or lobbying firm.
This subsection does not prohibit the performance of usual and customary constituent services by an elected local official without additional compensation.
An official, other than an elected official, or employee may not use public resources or the title of the official or employee to solicit a contribution as that term is defined in Chapter 34, Elections.
Solicitation and acceptance of gifts.
An official or employee may not solicit any gift.
An official or employee may not directly or indirectly solicit or facilitate the solicitation of a gift, on behalf of another person, from an individual regulated lobbyist.
An official or employee may not knowingly accept a gift, directly or indirectly, from a person that the official or employee knows or has the reason to know:
Is doing business with or seeking to do business with the City office, agency, board or commission with which the official or employee is affiliated;
Has financial interests that may be substantially and materially affected, in a manner distinguishable from the public generally, by the performance or nonperformance of the official duties of the official or employee;
Is engaged in an activity regulated or controlled by the official's or employee's governmental unit; or
Is a lobbyist with respect to matters within the jurisdiction of the official or employee.
Subsection H(5) of this section does not apply to a gift:
That would tend to impair the impartiality and the independence of judgment of the official or employee receiving the gift;
Of significant value that would give the appearance of impairing the impartiality and independence of judgment of the official or employee; or
Of significant value that the recipient official or employee believes or has reason to believe is designed to impair the impartiality and independence of judgment of the official or employee.
Notwithstanding Subsection H(3) of this section, an official or employee may accept the following:
Meals and beverages consumed in the presence of the donor or sponsoring entity;
Ceremonial gifts or awards that have insignificant monetary value;
Unsolicited gifts of nominal value that do not exceed $20 in cost or trivial items of informational value;
Reasonable expenses for food, travel, lodging, and scheduled entertainment of the official or the employee at a meeting which is given in return for the participation of the official or employee in a panel or speaking engagement at the meeting;
Gifts of tickets or free admission extended to an elected local official to attend a charitable, cultural, or political event, if the purpose of this gift or admission is a courtesy or ceremony extended to the elected official's office;
A specific gift or class of gifts that the Commission exempts from the operation of this subsection upon a finding, in writing, that acceptance of the gift or class of gifts would not be detrimental to the impartial conduct of the business of the City and that the gift is purely personal and private in nature;
Gifts from a person related to the official or employee by blood or marriage, or any other individual who is a member of the household of the official or employee;
Honoraria for speaking to or participating in a meeting, provided that the offering of the honorarium is not related in any way to the official's or employee's official position; or
Gifts of tickets or free admission extended by the sponsor to a City employee to attend a charitable, cultural or political event, and gifts of tickets or free admission to attend intercollegiate sporting events extended by the sponsor of the event to an elected City official or employee, when the sponsor is another governmental agency or unit of the State of Maryland, including the University of Maryland; and the City official or employee is attending with consent from the City Council as part of an effort to maintain governmental relations.
[Amended 4-24-2012 by Ord. No. 12-O-03]
Disclosure of confidential information. Other than in the discharge of official duties, an official or employee may not disclose or use confidential information, that the official or employee acquired by reason of the official's or employee's public position and that is not available to the public, for the economic benefit of the official or employee or that of another person.
Participation in procurement.
An individual or a person who employs an individual who assists the City agency in the drafting of specifications, an invitation for bids, or a request for proposals for a procurement, may not submit a bid or proposal for that procurement, or assist or represent another person, directly or indirectly, who is submitting a bid or proposal for the procurement.
The Commission may establish exemptions from the requirements of this section for providing descriptive literature, sole source procurements, and written comments solicited by the procuring agency.
[Amended 6-9-2009 by Ord. No. 09-O-03]
No City official or employee shall cause or advocate a member of his or her family to be hired, employed, promoted, transferred or advanced to any full- or part-time paid employment of the City. This prohibition shall not apply to the process of selecting appointed City officials. A City official or employee may not participate in an action relating to the discipline of a member of the City official's or employee's family.
No City official or employee shall permit or facilitate the unauthorized use of City-owned facilities, vehicles, equipment, materials or personnel for private purposes or profit.
No City official or employee shall grant any special consideration, treatment or advantage to any citizen beyond that which is available to every other citizen in the same circumstances.