Division 2. Code of Ethics for Boards and Commissions, Mayor and Borough Employees

Chapter 6.28
CODE OF ETHICS FOR BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

Sections:

6.28.010    Code of ethics for boards and commissions.

6.28.010 Code of ethics for boards and commissions.

A. Purpose and Intent. Members of the public serving as members of an appointed public body of the borough provide their time and energy in public service to the borough and exercise significant personal commitment, often at substantial financial sacrifice in terms of time taken from other professional endeavors. These appointed members are expected and permitted to earn a living and hold individual financial interests. However, matters coming before the appointed public body may include matters in which the appointed member of the public or a family member has a financial or private interest creating ethical issues which should be regulated in order to ensure that decisions of boards and commissions rest solely on what is in the public’s interest.

B. General Prohibited Conduct. No person serving on a board or commission shall:

1. Solicit, offer or receive money or other thing of value in return for a vote, a borough management decision, or the exercise of the person’s official duties, except the compensation, expenses, benefits, or other remuneration paid by the borough.

2. Offer or accept any money or other thing of value for or in consideration of obtaining employment, appointment, or promotion of any person by the borough.

3. Offer or accept any money or other thing of value for or in consideration of the use of the person’s public position to obtain a contract for any person or business with the borough.

4. Use for the person’s own benefit, or for the benefit of another, confidential information acquired by reason of the person’s public position and which is not available to the public.

5. Disclose or release confidential information gained through the person’s public position unless authorized by law or order of the court.

6. Use the person’s borough position to take personal advantage of another.

7. Divert or permit the diversion of borough personnel time, borough services, vehicles, equipment, materials or other property for a purpose unrelated to borough business.

8. Accept a gift from an individual or an entity with interests that may be substantially affected by the performance of the person’s official borough duties under circumstances where the timing and nature of the gift would cause a reasonable person to question the person’s judgment in exercising official borough duties on a matter affecting the donor.

9. Accept gifts from persons on a basis so frequent as to raise an appearance of the use of the person’s public position for private gain.

10. State or suggest to another person that official action or vote on any borough matter is conditioned on the retention or nonretention of services, including without limitation professional services, construction, and the procurement of supplies, from another person or entity.

C. Ethics Provisions Specific to Certain Board and Commission Duties. An appointed public body shall follow the requirements of state law, ordinance, regulation, and procedure governing specific actions of the appointed public body.

1. Boards and Commissions with Quasi-Judicial Responsibilities. Members of the public serving as members of an appointed body with such responsibilities shall:

a. Make decisions solely on applicable law and the evidence in the record;

b. Be impartial in fact and action in the performance of official duties, making decisions without personal gain or financial interest;

c. Disclose any previous involvement in the case or with the parties;

d. Disclose matters that would prevent the member from hearing the case under specific provisions applicable to the appointed public body;

e. Disclose circumstances that could potentially interfere with impartiality, so that the member’s participation may be fairly evaluated by the public body.

2. Boards and Commissions Exercising Monetary or Management Discretion.

a. When action on a matter involves monetary discretion in the recommendation of policy or funding, voting members of advisory boards or commissions shall include a summary of personal contacts concerning the matter in the disclosure of financial interest and personal involvement to the appointed public body.

b. If an appointed public body exercises monetary discretion, a member of the appointed public body or a member of their immediate family as defined in FNSBC 6.32.010 may not apply for, or receive substantial personal or financial interest in, a contract or project awarded or administered by the appointed public body during the member’s service to the body, or for one year after leaving service.

D. Disclosure Requirements. A board or commission member shall place the public interest above any financial or private interest when taking official action. If an appointed member’s private relationships or interests prevent the member from placing the public interest above a financial or private interest, the appointed member shall disclose this fact on the record. Prior to comment, deliberation or decision on a matter coming before the appointed public body, a member shall disclose any financial or private interest in the matter, including the financial interest or personal involvement of an immediate family member as defined in FNSBC 6.32.010. The nature of the financial or private interest shall be disclosed in sufficient detail to determine if the financial interest is substantial or the personal involvement is prejudicial. If the chairperson determines that a financial interest is substantial or the personal involvement is prejudicial, the member may not participate in the matter coming before the appointed public body unless overruled by the other members by majority vote.

E. Substantial Financial Interest. Whether the financial or private interest disclosed is substantial shall be determined by the appointed public body on a case-by-case basis, with evaluation of these factors:

1. Whether the financial or private interest is a substantial part of the matter under consideration;

2. Whether the financial or private interest directly and substantially varies with the outcome of the official action;

3. Whether the financial or private interest is immediate and known or conjectural and dependent on factors beyond the official action;

4. Whether the financial or private interest is significant monetarily;

5. Whether the financial or private interest is of a type which is generally possessed by the public or a large class of persons to which the member belongs;

6. Other factors deemed appropriate by the chair under the specifics of the disclosure and the nature of the action before the appointed body.

F. Restrictions on Employment. It is a conflict of interest for an appointed member of a public body to represent, advise, or assist a person for compensation regarding a matter that was under consideration by the appointed body if the member participated personally in the matter through the exercise of official duty. In this subsection, “matter” includes a case, proceeding, application, contract, or determination but does not include consideration or comment on ordinances, resolutions, or other legislative measures if consideration by the appointed public body was only in the context of general application.

G. Written Disclosure of Present Economic Interest. All applications for a board or commission appointment shall require the applicant to disclose any economic interest which shall cause the official to have a personal or financial interest in the decisions of the board or commission for which the applicant is submitting the application. The appointed member shall file supplemental written statements with the borough clerk as new interests are acquired, and make disclosures on the record of the public body of potential conflicts as required when matters come before the public body.

H. Acquisition of an Economic Interest in Borough Contracts and Business. If the appointed member or a member of the immediate family as defined in FNSBC 6.32.010 takes any official action with respect to preparation of the solicitation, award, or borough administration of a contract, the member or a member of the immediate family shall not acquire directly or indirectly an economic interest in a related borough contract.

I. Restrictions on Engaging Services to Influence Legislative or Administrative Action or Financial Contribution. An appointed public body may not engage a lobbyist or other person or entity for compensation to influence financial support, legislative action, or administrative action from another appointed public body or an elected body of the borough.

J. Gifts. Gifts to a member of an appointed body unrelated to the member’s public service and gifts without monetary value are not covered by this chapter. Unless subject to supplemental restrictions governing the appointed public body, these unsolicited gifts are allowed and subject to disclosure as follows:

1. A gift or award of monetary value presented in recognition of meritorious, civic, or voluntary service to the borough, so long as presented by a recognized civic or non-profit charitable organization presenting such a gift or award as part of an established tradition, and not given as financial inducement for official action. A member of an appointed body shall disclose a gift or award with a monetary value in excess of $50.00 and file the disclosure with the borough clerk within 30 working days of receipt of the gift or award.

2. A perishable gift for immediate consumption or display, from member(s) of the public expressing general appreciation or holiday cheer, when shared among members of the appointed body or donated to charity. The chair of the appointed body shall disclose a gift under this category with a value in excess of $150.00 and file the disclosure with the borough clerk within 30 working days of receipt.

K. Political Activity. A member of an appointed public body shall not:

1. Use official position on an appointed public body to solicit a contribution, endorsement, or other campaign support for any political candidate.

2. Use official position on an appointed public body to discourage or inhibit any person from exercising voter franchise.

3. Act in a manner to suggest that the member is acting in the member’s official capacity or otherwise representing the appointed public body or the borough, when engaging in political activity during personal time.

L. Complaint Procedures. Any person may file a verified complaint with the clerk alleging that a board or commission member has violated one or more provisions of this section. This complaint shall comply with and follow the procedures set forth in FNSBC 6.20.010 through 6.20.150. (Ord. 2016-63 § 2, 2016; Ord. 2011-08 § 3, 2011. 2004 Code § 2.21.190.)