Chapter 3.01
ETHICS

Sections:

3.01.010    Purpose.

3.01.020    Definitions.

3.01.030    Code of ethics.

3.01.040    Financial disclosure.

3.01.050    Administration of reports.

3.01.060    Repealed.

3.01.070    Severability.

3.01.080    Effective date.

SOURCE:    ADOPTED:

Ord. 78    12/13/77

AMENDED SOURCE:    ADOPTED:

Ord. 105    02/20/79

Ord. 131    05/05/81

Ord. 132    05/19/81

Ord. 360    10/24/89

Ord. 796    06/06/06

Ord. 873    05/31/11

3.01.010 Purpose.

The Board of Clallam County Commissioners finds and declares that public office is a public trust; that the proper operation of this trust requires that public officials and employees 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.

Accordingly, it is the purpose of this chapter to establish ethical standards of conduct for all officials and employees of the County, paid or unpaid; to set forth those acts that are incompatible with such standards; to require disclosure of private financial or other interests in matters affecting the County or affected by County action; and to provide effective means for enforcement thereof.

By establishing a code of ethics and providing for financial disclosure, this chapter should permit County government to better serve the needs and respond to the wishes of all citizens equally.

To effectuate this trust, the following provisions are adopted, and should be liberally construed.

3.01.020 Definitions.

The following words and phrases as used in this chapter shall, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, have the meanings as follows:

(1) “Business” means any corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, organization, self-employed individual, holding company, joint stock company, receivership, trust, or any legal entity organized for profit.

(2) “Business with which he is associated” means any business in which the person or a member of the person’s immediate family is a director, officer, employee, or holder of stock worth $500 or more at a fair market value, or any business that is a client of the person.

(3) “Compensation” means payment in any form for real or personal property or services of any kind, unless the context requires a narrower meaning.

(4) “Confidential information” means that information which is exempt from public inspection and copying pursuant to RCW 42.17.310, and that information required under CCC 3.01.040(2).

(5) “Elected official” means any person elected at a general or special election to any County office and any person who is appointed to fill a vacant elective County office.

(6) “Gift” means a voluntary transfer of real or personal property of any kind, or the voluntary rendition of services of any kind without consideration of equal or greater value, but not including:

(a) Any informational material which is transferred for the purpose of informing the recipient about matters pertaining to official County business and is not intended to benefit the recipient;

(b) Any symbolic presentation which is not intended to financially benefit the recipient;

(c) Any reasonable hosting, including travel expenses, entertainment, meals, or refreshments furnished in connection with appearances, ceremonies and occasions, reasonably relating to official County business; or

(d) Any honorarium as defined herein.

(7) “Governmental body” means any department, office, commission, council, board, administration, or other establishment in the administrative, legislative or judicial branch of any local, State or Federal government.

(8) “Immediate family” means anyone residing in the person’s household, and spouses and dependents.

(9) “Honoraria” means reimbursement for expenses in connection with speeches, lectures, etc., that could not reasonably be inferred as given to influence the conduct of the official with relation to official matters.

(10) “Person” means an individual, business, union, committee, club, or other entity however constituted, organized or designated.

(11) “Political contribution” means any advance, conveyance, deposit, distribution, transfer of funds or anything of value, loan, payment, pledge, forgiveness or indebtedness, purchase of a ticket to a testimonial or similar fund raising affair, or subscription or money or anything of value, in connection with a political campaign, and any agreement or other obligation to make a political contribution.

(12) “Public official” means any individual who is responsible for taking or recommending official County action.

(13) “Public employee” means any individual who is employed by the County or who receives compensation from the County for services rendered, other than an individual who renders services at public expense by court appointment or as an independent contractor with the County.

3.01.030 Code of ethics.

(1) No public official or public employee shall, except for compensation as provided by law, use his office or any confidential information received thereby for commercial purposes, financial gain, or future employment, for himself, a member of his immediate family, or business with which he is associated.

(2) No person shall offer or give to a public official or public employee or candidate for public office, or members of his immediate family or business with which he is associated, and no public official or public employee or candidate for public office shall solicit or accept anything of value, including a gift, loan, political contribution, award, or promise of future employment or personal benefit based on any agreement that the vote or official action of the public official or public employee or candidate for public office would be determined thereby.

(3) No elected official shall solicit any political contribution from any public official or public employee. No elected official shall accept any political contribution greater than $50 from any public official or public employee; provided, that this subsection shall not apply to contributions by County employees to elected officials when the County employee is a member of the immediate family of the elected official.

(4) No public official or public employee shall use his official influence to assist any person for compensation, other than compensation as provided by law, before a governmental body.

(5) No public official or public employee shall render or agree to render any personal, nonofficial services, in connection with the acquisition by any governmental body of an interest in real or personal property.

(6) No public official or public employee shall share in the compensation received by another as a result of assisting in a transaction with the public official or public employee would be prohibited from rendering under this section.

(7) No former public official or public employee shall:

(a) After his employment has ceased, knowingly act as agent, or attorney for anyone other than Clallam County, in connection with any judicial or other proceeding, application, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation, arrest, or other particular matter, involving a specific party or parties, in which Clallam County is a party or has a direct or substantial interest, and in which he participated personally and substantially as an officer or employee, through decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation, or otherwise, while so employed; provided, that this subsection shall be inapplicable to a particular and identifiable judicial or other proceeding, application, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation, arrest or other matter, if the Board of Clallam County Commissioners determines, pursuant to the procedure of subsection (7)(c) of this section, that there is no prejudice to, or conflict with, the interest of Clallam County; or

(b) Within one year after his employment has ceased, appear personally before any court or department or agency of Clallam County as agent, or attorney for anyone other than Clallam County, in connection with any proceeding, application, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation, arrest, or other particular matter involving a specific party or parties, in which Clallam County is a party or has a direct and substantial interest, and which was under his official responsibility as an officer or employee of Clallam County at any time within a period of one year prior to the termination of such responsibility; provided, that this subsection shall be inapplicable to a particular and identifiable judicial or other proceeding, application, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation, arrest or other matter, if the Board of Clallam County Commissioners determines, pursuant to the procedure of subsection (7)(c) of this section, that there is no prejudice to, or conflict with, the interests of Clallam County.

(c) The Board of Clallam County Commissioners, when requested to do so by a former employee, may make a determination of the inapplicability of subsections (7)(a) or (b) of this section to a particular, and identifiable judicial or other proceeding, application, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation, arrest or other matter. If the Board finds there to be no prejudice to, or conflict with the interests of Clallam County in the facts of the particular request to represent another by a former employee, the Board shall so indicate by a motion and the results of such motion shall be regularly entered upon the minutes of the Board.

(8) No public official or public employee shall use, request, or permit the use of County motor vehicles, equipment, materials, or property, except on the conduct of official business.

(9) No public official or public employee shall use his official influence to gainfully affect the revaluation of any property in which he, his immediate family, or a business with which he is associated has an interest.

(10) No public official or public employee shall intentionally engage in any act in addition to those listed above, which is in conflict with the performance of his official duties.

(11) All public officials and public employees shall bring personal knowledge of any violation of this code of ethics to the attention of the department head, or the Prosecuting Attorney, or the Board of County Commissioners, within 10 days of acquiring such knowledge. Reports of violations shall remain confidential unless the testimony of the person reporting the violation is required in any enforcement action brought under this chapter.

(12) All public officials and public employees may request from the Prosecuting Attorney, and the Prosecuting Attorney may issue a legal opinion on the application of this chapter whenever such application is uncertain.

(13) RCW Title 42 entitled, “Public Officers and Agencies,” as currently enacted or as hereafter amended contains several chapters that contain legal and/or ethical requirements for public officers and agencies. Those chapters of RCW Title 42 that contain requirements applicable to counties including, but not limited to, Chapters 42.20 and 42.23 RCW are hereby adopted by reference. Those chapters of RCW Title 42 that contain requirements applicable specifically to State agencies but not counties including, but not limited to Chapter 42.52 RCW, should be referred to by County officers for guidance in addressing legal and ethical issues associated with public service.

(14) Violators of the code of ethics may be subject to criminal liability to the extent their conduct violates one or more provisions of RCW Title 9A and/or other State or local laws.

3.01.040 Financial disclosure.

(1) All candidates for County elective office, within two weeks of becoming a candidate as defined under RCW 42.17.020, as currently enacted or hereafter amended, and all persons recommended by a party central committee to the Board of Commissioners for appointment to a vacant elective County office, within five days of such recommendation, shall file with the Public Disclosure Commission a Statement of Financial Affairs required under RCW 42.17.240, as enacted or hereafter amended, and commonly referred to as Form F-1, which contains an original signature of the person filing the report. All elected officials on or before April 15th of each year shall file with the Public Disclosure Commission a report as required under RCW 42.17.240, as currently enacted or hereafter amended.

(2) Within two weeks of becoming a candidate as defined under RCW 42.17.020 and consistent with the form requirements of Chapter 390-16 WAC, all candidates for County elective office shall file a Candidate Registration Form, commonly referred to as a C-1. The C-1 containing the signature of the person filing the report shall be filed with the Public Disclosure Commission.

3.01.050 Administration of reports.

Reports required to be filed under CCC 3.01.040(1) and (2) are available online at www.pdc.wa.gov or by contacting the Public Disclosure Commission. The County Auditor shall assist in providing contact information upon request and shall:

(1) Accept and file any required or voluntarily supplied Public Disclosure Forms;

(2) Make statements and reports filed available during regular office hours for public inspection and copying upon written and signed request, and make copying facilities available at a charge not to exceed actual cost;

(3) Compile and maintain an index of all reports and statements filed to facilitate public access to such reports and statements;

(4) Preserve statements and reports filed for a period of five years from the date of receipt;

(5) Cooperate with any requests for information by the Public Disclosure Commission.

3.01.060 Enforcement and penalties.

Repealed by Ord. 796, 2006.

3.01.070 Severability.

If any section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause, or phrase of this chapter is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional, such invalidity or unconstitutionality shall not affect the validity or constitutionality of the remaining portions of this chapter; it being hereby expressly declared that this chapter and each section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause and phrase thereof would have been adopted irrespective of the fact that any one or more other sections, subsections, paragraphs, sentences, clauses, or phrases be declared invalid or unconstitutional.

3.01.080 Effective date.

This chapter shall take effect 60 days after adoption.