Chapter 3.04
ASSEMBLY – GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sections:

3.04.010    Oath of office.

3.04.012    Qualifications.

3.04.020    Failure to take oath of office.

3.04.030    Start of term.

3.04.035    Absence from meetings.

3.04.040    Vacancies.

3.04.050    Mayor, vice-mayor, and chair.

3.04.060    Special committees.

3.04.070    Quorum.

3.04.080    Regular meetings.

3.04.090    Special meetings.

3.04.100    Reserved.

3.04.110    Reserved.

3.04.112    Conflict of interest.

3.04.113    Prohibitions.

3.04.114    Nepotism.

3.04.120    Executive sessions.

3.04.130    Authority to contact borough attorney.

3.04.140    Reserved.

3.04.010 Oath of office.

The mayor and assembly members elect, before entering upon the duties of their offices, shall severally take an oath in writing to honestly, faithfully and impartially perform the duties of their offices, which oath should be filed with the borough clerk. [Ord. 199 § 5, 1967; prior code § 36.50.010.]

3.04.012 Qualifications.

All members of the assembly, including the mayor, shall be qualified voters of the borough who have resided within the borough at least one year immediately preceding his or her election. [Ord. 833 § 11, 2009; Ord. 805 § 1, 2007; Ord. 491 § 12, 1986.]

3.04.020 Failure to take oath of office.

If any person who has been declared elected to any office as aforesaid fails, neglects or refuses to take his oath of office as provided within 30 days after the date of such election, the remaining members of the assembly shall have the power to declare a vacancy and to elect some qualified person to fill such vacancy until the next annual election. [Ord. 199 § 5, 1967; prior code § 36.50.020.]

3.04.030 Start of term.

The mayor and assembly members elect shall take their respective offices on the first Monday after their election from which day their term of office shall be deemed to run. [Ord. 199 § 5, 1967; prior code § 36.50.030.]

3.04.035 Absence from meetings.

A. If an elected or appointed assembly member or the mayor is absent and not excused from more than one-half of all regular meetings of the assembly held within any period of four consecutive calendar months, the member shall cease to hold office and the assembly shall declare the office vacant.

B. An elected or appointed assembly member or the mayor participating in a regular meeting of the assembly by teleconference in accordance with WMC 3.05.050 is deemed present at that meeting and such participation not an unexcused absence.

C. If an elected or appointed assembly member or the mayor is absent from a regular meeting of the assembly on borough business, the absence shall be deemed to be excused. [Ord. 915 § 2, 2016; Ord. 881 § 3, 2014.]

3.04.040 Vacancies.

A. The assembly, by the majority vote of its remaining members, shall fill vacancies in its own membership including the vacancy in the office of mayor for the unexpired terms or until the vacancies are filled at elections.

B. If a vacancy occurs before the beginning of a regular filing period for candidates for assembly members, and the unexpired term extends beyond the time when the terms of assembly members elected that year begin, then a mayor or assembly member for that place shall be elected at the regular election of that year to serve the rest of the unexpired term beginning at the time the terms of assembly members elected that year begin. [Ord. 199 § 5, 1967; prior code § 36.50.040.]

3.04.050 Mayor, vice-mayor, and chair.

A. The mayor shall preside at all meetings of the assembly and shall certify the passage of all ordinances and resolutions passed by it. The mayor shall have all of the powers, rights, privileges, duties and responsibilities of assembly members. The mayor acts as the ceremonial head of government, executes official documents on authorization by the assembly, and is responsible for additional duties and powers prescribed by law. The mayor may vote. The mayor may not initiate motions. The mayor has no veto power.

B. At the first meeting following certification of the regular election, or as soon thereafter as practicable, the assembly shall elect one of its members as vice-mayor, who shall serve as such until the next such first meeting. The vice-mayor shall preside at all meetings of the assembly for which the mayor is unable to be present.

C. If both the mayor and vice-mayor are not present, an assembly member shall be selected by those members present to preside at the meeting. When a member is acting as chair, the member retains all privileges otherwise held as a member of the assembly. [Ord. 881 § 4, 2014; Ord. 296 § 5, 1974; prior code § 27.10.020.]

3.04.060 Special committees.

Special committees for the purpose of considering any special matter may be appointed by the mayor with the consent of the assembly. Upon completion of the special committee’s assignment, a special committee may be dissolved by majority vote of the assembly. [Ord. 881 § 5, 2014; Ord. 296 § 5, 1974; prior code § 27.10.050.]

3.04.070 Quorum.

At all meetings of the assembly, four assembly members or three members and the mayor shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. In the absence of a quorum, any number less than a quorum may adjourn a meeting to a later date. [Ord. 881 § 6, 2014; Ord. 770 § 1, 2005; Ord. 296 § 5, 1974; prior code § 27.10.060.]

3.04.080 Regular meetings.

A. Regular meetings of the assembly shall be held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, except that no regular meetings shall be held the second Tuesday of July and August and on the fourth Tuesday of December.

B. The meetings shall be held at 7:00 p.m. in the assembly chambers, City Hall, Wrangell.

C. If any such Tuesday falls on a legal holiday as defined by the laws of the state, the meeting scheduled for that day shall be held at the same hour on the next succeeding day which is not a holiday.

D. Separate notice for regular assembly meetings shall not be required; instead, the clerk shall cause to be published in the local newspaper a semiannual notice indicating the above-described regular assembly meeting plan. [Ord. 798 § 1, 2007; Ord. 596 § 4, 1995; Ord. 296 § 5, 1974; prior code § 27.10.070.]

3.04.090 Special meetings.

A. Unless otherwise designated in the notice, special meetings of the assembly shall be held at the regular meeting place of the assembly.

B. Special meetings shall be called by the borough clerk on the written request of the mayor, or of the borough manager, or of any two members of the assembly.

C. At least 48 hours of written notice shall be given designating the time and purpose of a special meeting. Each member of the assembly shall be notified of the special meeting.

D. A copy of the notice of special assembly meeting shall be delivered at the place of business of the local newspaper published and circulated in the borough, but this requirement shall not be jurisdictional to the holding of any such meeting.

E. Public notice of the special meeting shall be given by posting notice at the following places in the borough: City Hall, the borough website, and the post office.

F. The assembly members may subsequently sign a waiver of notice of a special meeting, which notice shall made a part of the journal of the meeting.

G. No business shall be transacted at any special meeting of the assembly, except that stated in the notice of the meeting.

H. As with regular meetings, special assembly meetings shall be public meetings and the public shall have a reasonable opportunity to be heard. [Ord. 881 § 7, 2014; Ord. 296 § 5, 1974; prior code § 27.10.080.]

3.04.100 Reserved.

Repealed by Ord. 881. [Ord. 805 § 2, 2007; Ord. 327 § 5, 1975; prior code § 27.10.090.]

3.04.110 Reserved.

Repealed by Ord. 881. [Ord. 296 § 5, 1974; prior code § 27.10.100.]

3.04.112 Conflict of interest.

A. Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to set reasonable standards of conduct for elected and appointed public officials and for borough employees, so that the public may be assured that its trust in such persons is well placed and that the officials and employees themselves are aware of the high standards of conduct demanded of persons in like office and position.

B. Definitions – Construction.

1. Definitions. As used in this chapter, the following words have the following meanings:

a. “Borough” means the City and Borough of Wrangell, its assembly, administration, hospital board, planning and zoning board, museum board or port commission.

b. “Borough employee” means any person employed by the borough, whether full-time or part-time, temporarily or permanently.

c. “Borough official” means a person who holds elected office under the ordinances of the borough, who is appointed to fill a vacancy in an elective office, or who is a member of a borough board or commission whose appointment is subject to confirmation by the borough assembly.

d. “Confidential information” means information exempt from disclosure under subsection (D) of this section.

e. “Engaging in business” means submitting a written or oral proposal to supply goods, services or other things of value, or furnish goods, services or other things of value, for consideration.

f. “Substantial financial interest” means an expectation of receiving a pecuniary benefit. A financial interest of a person includes any financial interest of a member of that person’s immediate family. A person has a financial interest in an organization in which that person has an ownership interest, or is a director, officer or an employee. A person has a financial interest in a decision if a financial interest of that person will vary with the outcome of the decision. A substantial financial interest does not include the following: A personal or financial interest which is not of the magnitude that would exert an influence on an average, reasonable person; a personal or financial interest of a type which is generally possessed by the public or a large class of persons to which that official or employee belongs; or an action or influence which would have an insignificant or conjectural effect on the matter in question.

g. “Gratuity” means a thing having value given voluntarily or beyond lawful obligation in return for, or in anticipation of, any service or consideration in connection with the official’s performance of duties.

h. “Immediate family” of a person means anyone related to that person by blood to the second degree of kinship, marriage or adoption or who lives in that person’s household.

i. “Organization” means any corporation, partnership, firm or association, whether organized for profit or nonprofit.

2. Construction. This chapter shall be liberally construed to protect the public interest in full disclosure of conflicts of interest and promoting ethical standards of conduct for borough officials and employees.

C. Elected Borough Officials.

1. An elected borough official may not participate in any official action in which he/she or a member of his/her household has a substantial financial interest.

2. No member of the assembly, hospital board, planning and zoning board, museum board, port commission or the mayor, nor any entity in which he or she may have a substantial financial interest, may contract with the borough to provide supplies, services, professional services or construction except when:

a. The nature of the financial interest is fully disclosed to the entity with the authority to award the contract before such contract is awarded and a notice of intent to do business with the borough, hospital board, planning and zoning board, museum board or port commission, as applicable, is provided as set forth in subsection (D) of this section;

b. The borough official neither participates in the decision to award the contract nor attempts to influence such decision; and

c. Performance of the contract is compatible with the ability of the borough official to discharge his or her official duties and to exercise his or her independent judgment. The official or body charged with responsibility for award of a particular contract under this title shall have the authority to determine compliance with this subsection.

3. Newly elected member of these bodies (or entities in which they may have a substantial financial interest) who have contracts covered by subsection (C)(2) of this section may fulfill the terms and conditions of such contracts without penalty. For the purposes of subsections (C)(2) and (3) of this section, a contract includes a purchase order, or services as a paid employee but does not include a transaction characterized as a “grant.”

4. Use of Office for Personal Gain. No person shall seek or hold office for the purpose of obtaining anything of value for himself/herself, his/her family or a business that he/she owns or in which he/she holds an interest.

5. Representing Private Interests. No elected official shall represent, or accompany those representing, private business or personal interests before the assembly, or other borough board, commission or agency.

6. The mayor and assembly members may serve on boards, commissions or on boards of nonprofit organizations.

7. Nothing herein shall prevent a member of the assembly, hospital board, planning and zoning board, museum board or port commission from making verbal or written inquiries on behalf of constituents or the general public to elements of borough government or from requesting explanations or additional information on behalf of such constituents. No elected official may solicit a benefit or anything of value or accept same from any person for having performed this service other than permitted in subsection (D) of this section.

D. Elected Borough Officials – Officials or Employees – Prohibited Acts. No borough official or employee may engage intentionally in conduct that conflicts with the officer’s or employee’s official duties, including but not limited to conduct violating the following standards:

1. In accordance with subsection (C) of this section:

a. Before a borough official or employee, or an organization in which the borough official or employee has a financial interest, engages in business with the borough (including but not limited to submitting a written or oral bid or proposal), the official or employees shall disclose the intent to engage in business as provided in subsection (C) of this section. For purposes of this subsection only, a borough official does not include an appointed member of a borough board or commission;

b. Before acquiring the financial interest, a borough official or employee shall disclose the intent to acquire a financial interest in any service or property which the official or employee knows the borough intends to purchase. Such disclosure shall be the same method as for a contract under subsection (C) of this section.

2. No borough official or employee may take any action in the capacity of a borough official or employee to influence the borough’s selection of any bid or proposal, or the borough’s conduct of business, in which the official or employee has a financial interest.

3. A borough official or employee who is a voting member of a borough board, commission or legislative body shall disclose any financial interest in any decision before the board, commission or legislative body before debating or voting upon the decision, and may not participate in the debate or vote upon the decision if the board, commission or legislative body determines that a financial interest, as defined by WMC 3.04.112(C) is substantial. No borough official or employee may testify before a borough board, commission or legislative body without first disclosing any financial interest which the official or employee has in the subject of the testimony. Upon such disclosure the mayor shall determine if such member shall be required to vote or abstain. The assembly may overturn the decision of the mayor by majority if such member shall be required to vote or abstain. The assembly may overturn the decision of the mayor by majority vote.

4. No borough official or employee may disclose confidential information held by the borough unless authorized or required by law to do so, or use that information to advance the official’s or employee’s financial interest or the financial interest of others.

5. A borough official or employee may not engage in business or accept employment with, or render services for, a person other than the borough where the activity will conflict with the official’s or employee’s duties to the borough or impair the official’s or employee’s independence of judgment in performing those duties.

6. No borough official or employee may accept a gratuity from any person engaging in business with the borough or having a financial interest in a decision pending with the borough. A borough employee who receives a gratuity shall report the receipt to the employee’s supervisor, who shall report the receipt to the borough attorney. This subsection does not prohibit accepting:

a. A meal offered as a courtesy;

b. Discounts or prizes that are generally available to the public or to a large business category to which the official or employee belongs;

c. Gifts presented by the employing agency in recognition of meritorious service to the borough or other civic or public awards of whatever nature; or

d. Campaign contributions as candidate for public office.

7. No borough official or borough employee shall permit the use of borough-owned property, vehicles, equipment, or materials for a nonborough purpose, except as specifically provided by ordinance, personnel rules, labor contracts, or terms and conditions of employment. This section is not intended to preclude communications with the public as provided for in subsection (D)(10) of this section.

8. No borough employee may engage in political activity during duty hours.

9. Political Activities – Limitations on Individuals. Appointed officials and employees may not take an active part in a political campaign or other matter to be brought before the voters when on duty. Nothing herein shall be construed as preventing appointed officials, borough officials or employees from exercising their voting franchise, contributing to a campaign or candidate of their choice or expressing their political views when not on duty or otherwise conspicuously representing the borough.

10. Political Activity – Limitation on Borough Government.

a. The borough may not actively campaign on any ballot issue including referendums, initiatives, bond issues, or other special elections. The preparation and distribution of neutral informational pamphlets or brochures does not constitute a violation of this chapter, nor shall this subsection apply to an elected official who is subject to a vote of recall, or members of the assembly or mayor during a regular election for office.

b. The borough, or borough employees, other than elected officials, while on duty and/or when acting in an official capacity, may not prepare or publish, broadcast or otherwise distribute any material of a partisan nature on matters, including bond issues, which shall come before the voters in a regular or special election.

c. The borough may prepare and disseminate general, objective information about the issues to be voted on. Such material shall be devoid of partisan statements or slant and, where appropriate, may contain pro and con statements of equal weight and value.

E. Contract Inducements. No payment, gratuity or offer of employment shall be made in connection with any contract, by or on behalf of the subcontractor to the prime contractor or higher tier subcontractor or any person associated therewith, as an inducement for the award of a subcontractor or order. This prohibition shall be set forth in every borough and solicitation therefor.

F. Post-Employment Restrictions.

1. No former official or employee shall, for a period of six months after the termination of the term of office or employment, represent, advise, or assist a person for compensation regarding a matter that was under consideration by the borough and in which the official or employee participated personally and substantially through the exercise of official action.

2. No current or former elected borough official may be employed by the borough for a period for six months after leaving office.

3. The assembly may, by majority vote, authorize a waiver from the requirements of subsections (F)(1) or (F)(2) of this section.

4. For purposes of this section, voting on an appropriation shall not in and of itself constitute substantial participation in a matter.

5. This section does not prohibit the borough from contracting with a former official or employee to act on a matter on behalf of the borough or school district.

6. In this section, “matters” includes a case, proceeding, application, contract or determination.

7. Disclosure by borough officials and employees engaging in business with the borough.

8. Where a borough official or employee conducts business or intends to conduct business with the borough, the official or employee shall file an affidavit with the borough clerk stating:

a. The name and office of the borough official or employee;

b. The name of any organization in which the official or employee has a financial interest, whose activities are the subject of the disclosure, and a description of that financial interest; and

c. A description of the transaction that is the subject of the disclosure.

9. The borough clerk shall post in at least one public place, and publish in a newspaper of general circulation in the borough, an affidavit file under subsection (F)(8) of this section within seven days of its filing. The person filing the statement shall bear the cost of the publication, unless that person serves on a borough board or commission without compensation. The cost of publication shall be paid to the clerk at the time of filing.

10. No borough official, employee, board, commission or legislative body may act upon a transaction that is the subject of a disclosure under this section within 10 days of the filing of the disclosure under subsection (F)(8) of this section or within seven days of the publishing and posting of the disclosure under subsection (F)(8)(b) of this section.

G. Sanctions for Violation.

1. Any official found by the assembly, the hospital board, the museum board, the planning and zoning board, or the port commission, to have violated any of the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to appropriate sanctions. The mayor may appoint a special committee of the respective body to review the allegations and provide recommendations.

2. Any employee found by:

a. The manager, in the case of a borough employee;

b. The assembly, in the case of a borough employee;

to have violated any of the provisions of this chapter, or to have furnished false or misleading information shall be subject to employment sanctions up to and including discharge, as determined by the manager, assembly, hospital board, museum board, planning and zoning board, or port commission as applicable.

H. Judicial Penalties. Knowing violations of any of the provisions of this chapter, or the furnishing of false, misleading or incomplete information to the board with the intent to mislead, shall be punishable as provided for in WMC 1.20.010.

I. Invalid Actions.

1. Any contract negotiated, entered into, or performed in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be voidable as to the borough but only by action of the assembly.

2. Any permit, license, ruling, determination, or other official action of an agency applied for or in any other manner sought, obtained or undertaken where the beneficiary knew or should have known of a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter may be invalidated by the assembly, as applicable.

J. Other Remedies. Nothing in this chapter shall preclude the borough from maintaining an action to achieve an accounting for any pecuniary benefit received by any person in violation of this chapter or other law, or to recover damages for violation of this chapter.

K. Relationship to Other Laws. The procedures and penalties provided in this chapter are supplemental and do not limit either the power of an agency to otherwise discipline officials or employees or to take appropriate administrative action to adopt more restrictive rules. This chapter is intended to replace the common law regarding conflicts of interest with respect to borough elected officials and employees. Other than superseding the common law, nothing in this chapter is intended to repeal or is to be construed as repealing in any way the provisions of any other law or ordinance.

L. Severability. The invalidity of any section, subsection, provision, clause or portion of this chapter, or the invalidity of the application thereof to any person or circumstance, shall not affect the validity of the remainder of this chapter or the validity of its application to other persons or circumstances. [Ord. 881 § 10, 2014; Ord. 833 § 61, 2009; Ord. 699 § 4, 2001; Ord. 488 § 4, 1986.]

3.04.113 Prohibitions.

A. No person may be appointed to or removed from municipal office or in any way favored or discriminated against with respect to a municipal position because of race, color, sex, creed, national origin or, unless otherwise contrary to law, because of his or her political opinions or affiliations.

B. No state employee or school district employee may be denied the right to serve as an elected municipal official because of their employment by the state or school district; provided however, no school district employee may serve on a school district board in the school district where he or she is employed.

C. No borough employee may hold a position on the borough assembly or as borough mayor. A borough employee may be a candidate for the borough assembly or mayor, but if elected, must resign from borough employment before taking office.

D. For purposes of this section a school district employee is not a borough employee. [Ord. 881 § 11, 2014.]

3.04.114 Nepotism.

A. Except as provided in subsection (B) of this section, neither the borough manager, the assembly nor any other authority of the borough government may appoint any person related to the mayor or any other assembly member, to the borough manager, or to such person, or, in the case of a plural authority, to one of its members, by affinity or consanguinity within the second degree, to any office or position of profit in the borough government; but this shall not prohibit an officer or employee from continuing in the service of the borough.

B. Relatives, within the second degree of affinity or consanguinity to the borough manager cannot be appointed to an office or position of profit in the borough government without the prior approval of the borough assembly. If an employee is currently working for the borough government and a relative within the second degree of affinity or consanguinity is hired as the borough manager, that person cannot continue their employment with the borough without approval of the borough assembly. [Ord. 870 § 2, 2013; Ord. 807 § 1, 2007.]

3.04.120 Executive sessions.

A. Executive sessions are authorized by AS 44.62.310(b).

B. If permitted subjects are to be discussed at a meeting in executive session, the meeting must first be convened as a public meeting and the question of holding an executive session to discuss matters that are listed below shall be determined by a majority vote of the assembly. The motion to convene in executive session must clearly and with specificity describe the subject of the proposed executive session without defeating the purpose of addressing the subject in private. Subjects may not be considered at the executive session except those mentioned in the motion calling for the executive session unless auxiliary to the main question. Action may not be taken at an executive session, except to give direction to an attorney or labor negotiator regarding the handling of a specific legal matter or pending labor negotiations.

C. The following subjects may be considered in an executive session:

1. Matters, the immediate knowledge of which would clearly have an adverse effect upon the finances of the public entity;

2. Subjects that tend to prejudice the reputation and character of any person, provided the person may request a public discussion;

3. Matters which by law, municipal charter, or ordinance are required to be confidential;

4. Matters involving consideration of government records that by law are not subject to public disclosure.

D. No recordings shall be permitted for any executive session. [Ord. 881 § 12, 2014.]

3.04.130 Authority to contact borough attorney.

A. The mayor, the borough manager, and the borough clerk are authorized to contact and make requests of the borough attorney directly. Any member of the assembly may request the manager or clerk to request clarification of WMC code section or charter section from the attorney. Assembly members shall not contact the borough attorney directly unless the assembly by a majority vote authorizes it.

B. Request for Ordinances or Legal Opinions from the Borough Attorney. Any member of the assembly may request the manager or clerk to have prepared proposed ordinances with such ordinances to be placed on the agenda of the next regular assembly meeting, provided the ordinance can be prepared, publicly noticed, and distributed to the assembly in accordance with time schedules. During an assembly meeting or work session, any two or more members of the assembly may request written legal opinions, relating to borough business, from the attorney through the manager’s or the clerk’s office. Upon receipt of an assembly-requested proposed ordinance or written legal opinion, the clerk shall distribute the ordinance or written legal opinion to all assembly members so that all members may be fully informed of the status of borough affairs. [Ord. 881 § 14, 2014.]

3.04.140 Reserved.

Repealed by Ord. 881. [Ord. 296 § 5, 1974; prior code § 27.10.130.]