Chapter 2.21


2.21.010    Declaration of policy.

2.21.020    Definitions.

2.21.030    Fair and equal treatment.

2.21.040    Conflict of interest.

2.21.050    Sanctions.

2.21.010 Declaration of policy.

A. The public judges its government by the way public officials and employees conduct themselves in the positions to which they are elected or appointed.

B. The people have a right to expect that every public official and employee will conduct himself in a manner that will tend to preserve public confidence in, and respect for, the government he/she represents.

C. Such confidence and respect can best be promoted if every public official and employee, whether paid or unpaid, and whether elected or appointed, will uniformly:

1. Treat all citizens with courtesy, impartiality, fairness and equality under the law; and

2. Avoid both actual and potential conflicts between their private self-interest and the public interest.

D. To help public officials and employees achieve these goals is one of the objectives of this code.

E. This code shall be in addition to, and is not intended to repeal, the city personnel policy heretofore established.

F. The other objective is based on the proposition that no man can serve two masters, nor should he/she attempt to do so. Therefore, this code proposes to relieve him/her of the impossible task of judging himself/herself. Instead, the code places judgment in the hands of the entire council, which will review the facts and measure them by the yardstick of public morality established by this code. (Ord. 94-12 § 1(Exh. A)(part), 1994).

2.21.020 Definitions.

The terms used in this code are hereby defined as follows:

“Employee” means any person employed or retained by the city, whether part time or full time.

“Financial interest” means any interest which shall yield, directly or indirectly, a monetary or other material benefit (other than the duly authorized salary or compensation for his/her services to the city) to the official, or employee, or to any person employing or retaining the services of the official or employee.

“Official” means any person elected, or appointed to any public office or public body of the city, whether paid or unpaid, and whether part time or full time.

“Person” means any person, firm, association, group, partnership or corporation, or any combination thereof.

“Personal interest” means any interest arising from blood or marriage relationships, or from close business or political association, whether or not any financial interest is involved.

“Public body” means any agency, board, body, commission, committee, department or office of the city. (Ord. 94-12 § 1(Exh. A)(part), 1994).

2.21.030 Fair and equal treatment.

A. Impartiality. No official or employee shall grant or make available to any person any consideration, treatment, advantage or favor beyond that which it is the general practice to grant or make available to the public at large.

B. Use of Public Property. No official or employee shall request, use or permit the use of any publicly owned or publicly supported property, vehicle, equipment, labor or service for the personal convenience or the private advantage of himself or any other person. This rule shall not be deemed to prohibit an official or employee from requesting, using or permitting the use of such publicly owned or publicly supplied property, vehicle, equipment, material, labor or service which it is the general practice to make available to the public at large, or which are provided as a matter of stated public policy for the use of officials and employees in the conduct of official business. (Ord. 94-12 § 1(Exh. A)(part), 1994).

2.21.040 Conflict of interest.

A. Financial or Personal Interest. No official or employee, either on his or her own behalf or on behalf of any other person, shall have any financial or personal interest in any business or transaction with any public body in the city unless he or she shall first make full public disclosure of the nature and extent of such interest.

B. Disclosure and Disqualification. Whenever the performance of his or her official duties shall require any official or employee to deliberate and vote on any matter involving his or her financial or personal interest, he or she shall publicly disclose the nature and extent of such interest and disqualify himself or herself from participating in the deliberation as well as in the voting.

C. Incompatible Employment. No official or employee shall engage in private employment with, or render services for any private person who has business transactions with any public body of the city unless he/she shall first make full public disclosure of the nature and extent of such employment or services. Any dispute in this regard involving an official shall be resolved by the city council whose decision shall be final. Any such dispute involving an employee shall be resolved by the city manager whose decision shall be final.

D. Representation of Private Persons. No official or employee shall appear on behalf of any private person, other than himself or herself, before any public body in the city.

E. Gifts and Favors. No official or employee shall accept any gift, whether in the form of money, thing, favor, loan or promise, that would not be offered or given him or her if he or she were not an official or employee.

F. Confidential Information. No official or employee shall, without prior formal authorization of the public body having jurisdiction, disclose any confidential information concerning any other official or employee, or any other person, or any property or governmental affairs of the city. As used in this code, the term “confidential information” shall be defined as those records exempt from disclosure by RCW Chapter 42.17 as currently codified or as may be hereafter amended and shall include the subject matter of litigation in which the city is involved.

G. Nepotism. No elected official shall appoint or vote for appointment of any person related to him or her by blood or marriage to any clerkship, office, position, employment or duty when the salary, wages, pay or compensation is to be paid out of public funds. Council members’ spouses and members of their households shall not be appointed or serve on advisory commissions of the city.

H. Other Requirements. Nothing contained herein shall be construed so as to exempt any official from any other requirements of the law. (Ord. 94-12 § 1(Exh. A)(part), 1994).

2.21.050 Sanctions.

In the event that the city council shall make a determination that the conduct of any official was improper, they may institute appropriate action for censure, suspension or removal from office of said official. In the event that the city manager shall make a determination that the conduct of any employee was improper, the city manager may institute appropriate disciplinary action for said employee consistent with the provisions of any applicable personnel rules and regulations or collective labor agreement. (Ord. 94-12 § 1(Exh. A)(part), 1994).