Chapter 2.95


2.95.010    Purpose.

2.95.020    Definitions.

2.95.030    Financial disclosure.

2.95.040    Form of statement.

2.95.050    Standard of conduct.

2.95.060    Penalties.

2.95.010 Purpose.

It is declared that high moral and ethical standards among Town officials are essential to the conduct of free government; that a code of ethics for the guidance of Town officials will help them avoid conflicts between their personal interests and their public responsibilities, will improve standards of public service and will promote and strengthen the faith and confidence of the people of the Town in their officials. (2008 code § 1.19(1))

2.95.020 Definitions.

In this chapter:

“Anything of value” means any money or property, favor, service, payment, advance, forbearance, loan, or promise of future employment, but does not include compensation and expenses paid by the Town, political contributions which are reported under Wis. Stat. Ch. 11, or hospitality extended for a purpose unrelated to Town business by a person other than an organization.

“Associated,” when used with reference to an organization, includes any organization in which a person or a member of his or her immediate family is a director, officer or trustee, or owns or controls, directly or indirectly, and severally or in the aggregate, at least 10 percent of the outstanding equity.

“Board” means the Town Board.

“Candidate for Town office” means any person who files nomination papers for the purpose of appearing on the ballot for election to any of the offices set forth in Chapter 2.05 ETMC.

“Gift” means the payment or receipt for anything of value without valuable consideration.

“Immediate family” means:

1.    A person’s spouse; and

2.    A person’s relative by marriage, lineal descent or adopting who receives, directly or indirectly, more than one-half of his or her support from such person or from who such person receives, directly or indirectly, more than one-half of his or her support.

“Income” has the meaning given under the Federal Internal Revenue Code.

“Ministerial action” means an action that a person performs in a given state of facts in a prescribed manner in obedience to the mandate of legal authority, without regard to the exercise of the person’s own judgment as to the property of the action being taken.

“Official required to file” means any candidate for Town office or any Town official.

“Organization” means any corporation, partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, trust or other legal entity other than an individual or body politic, which owns real estate and/or does business in the Town of East Troy.

“Security” has the meaning given under Wis. Stat. § 551.102(28), except that the term does not include a certificate of deposit or a deposit in a mutual savings and loan association, mutual savings bank, credit union, or similar association organized under the laws of any state.

“Town official” means any person holding any of the offices set forth in Chapter 2.05 ETMC. (2008 code § 1.19(2))

2.95.030 Financial disclosure.

1.    Each person who in January of any year is an official required to file shall file a statement of economic interests with the Town Clerk no later than April 30th of that year. The information contained on such statements shall be current as of December 31st of the preceding year.

2.    An official required to file shall file a statement of economic interest with the Town Clerk as per the date he or she assumes office no later than 21 days following that date if such person has not previously filed a statement of economic interest with the Board during that year.

3.    A candidate for Town office shall file a statement of economic interests with the Town Clerk no later than the end of the third day following the deadline for filing nomination papers for the office for which the person is a candidate. The information contained on such statement shall be current as of December 31st of the preceding year.

4.    On its own motion or at the request of any person who is required to file a statement of economic interests, the Board may extend the time for filing or waive any filing requirement if the Board determines that the literal application of the filing requirements of this chapter would work an unreasonable hardship on such person or that the extension of the time for filing or waiver is in the public interest. The Board shall set forth in writing as a matter of public record its reason for the extension or waiver. (2008 code § 1.19(3))

2.95.040 Form of statement.

Every statement of economic interest which is required to be filed under this chapter shall be in the form prescribed by the Board, and shall contain the following information:

1.    The identity of every organization with which the person required to file is associated and the nature of his or her association with the organization, except that no identification need be made of:

a.    Any organization which is described in Section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.

b.    Any organization which is organized and operated primarily to influence voting at an election including support for or opposition to a person’s present or future candidacy or to a present or future referendum.

c.    Any nonprofit organization which is formed exclusively for social purposes and any nonprofit community service organization.

d.    A trust.

2.    The identity of every organization in which the person who is required to file or such person’s immediate family, severally or in the aggregate, own, directly or indirectly, securities having a value of $5,000 or more, the identity of such securities and their approximate value, except that no identification need be made of a security or issuer of a security when it is issued by any organization not doing business in this state or by any government or instrumentality or agency thereof, or an authority or public corporation created and regulated by an act of such government, other than the state of Wisconsin, its instrumentalities, agencies and political subdivisions, or authorities or public corporations created and regulated by an act of the Legislature.

3.    Information which is required by this chapter shall be provided on the basis of the best knowledge, information and belief of the person filing the statement. (2008 code § 1.19(4))

2.95.050 Standard of conduct.

1.    The Board hereby reaffirms that a public official hold his or her position as a public trust, and any effort to realize substantial personal gain through official conduct is a violation of that trust. This chapter does not prevent any Town official from accepting other employment or following any pursuit which in no way interferes with the full and faithful discharge of his or her duties to the Town. The Board further recognizes that in a representative democracy, the representatives are drawn from society and, therefore, cannot and should not be without all personal and economic interest in the decisions and policies of their rights as citizens to interests of a personal or economic nature; that standards of ethical conduct for Town officials need to distinguish between those minor and inconsequential conflicts that are unavoidable in a free society, and those conflicts which are substantial and material; and that Town officials may need to engage in employment, professional or business activities, other than official duties, in order to support themselves or their families and to maintain a continuity of professional or business activity, or may need to maintain investments, which activities or investments do not conflict with the specific provision of this section.

2.    No Town official may use his or her public position or office to obtain financial gain or anything of substantial value for the private benefit of himself or herself or his or her immediate family, or for an organization with which he or she is associated.

3.    No person or organization may offer or give to a Town official, directly or indirectly, and no Town official may solicit or accept from any person or organization, directly or indirectly, anything of value if it could reasonably be expected to influence such official’s vote, official actions or judgment, or could reasonably be considered as a reward for any official action or inaction on the part of such Town official. This subsection does not prohibit a Town official from engaging in outside employment.

4.    No Town official may intentionally use or disclose information gained in the course of or by reason of his or her official position or activities in any way that could result in the receipt of anything of value for himself or herself, for his or her immediate family, or for any other person or organization, if the information has not been communicated to the public or is not public information.

5.    No Town official may use or attempt to use his public position to influence or gain unlawful benefits, advantages or privileges for himself or others. (2008 code § 1.19(5))

2.95.060 Penalties.

In addition to the general penalties which may be imposed pursuant to Chapter 1.20 ETMC:

1.    In any case where an official required to file has failed to make a timely filing, the Board shall promptly thereafter notify the Town Treasurer of such delinquency. Upon such notification the Treasurer shall withhold all payments for compensation, reimbursement of expenses and other obligations to such official until the statement of economic interests is filed; and

2.    In any case where a candidate for Town office fails to make a timely filing, the Board shall mail that candidate a notice by certified mail with return receipt requested informing the person that his or her name will not appear on the ballot unless a statement of economic interests is filed. If the statement is not filed within three days after the date on which the return receipt is received, the candidate’s name may not be certified for ballot placement. (2008 code § 1.19(6))