Ordinance 05-00: Code of Conduct

WHEREAS, the General Assembly has mandated by legislation that each municipality adopt a Code of Conduct applicable to their elected and appointed officials and to their employees at least as stringent as the State Employees’, and Officials’ Code of Conduct; and

WHEREAS, it is, in the opinion of the Mayor and members of the Town Council, that it is advantageous and in the best interest of the Town that a Code of Conduct for the Town of Townsend be enacted promptly and submitted to the State Ethics Commission for Approval.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the Mayor and Town Council of the Town of Townsend, that this Ordinance be passed adopting the following Code of Conduct for all elected or appointed officials and all employees

Applicability and State of Policy
This Chapter shall be known as the Town of Townsend Code of Conduct.
This Chapter shall be applicable to all elected and appointed officials and to all employees of the Town of Townsend.
It is the purpose of this Chapter to insure the propriety and the preservation of public confidence in the officials and employees of the Town of Townsend and to establish ethical standards for those officials and employees which will protect the integrity of the government of the Town of Townsend.

For the purpose of this Chapter, the following definitions shall be applicable unless the context clearly indicates to the Contrary:

“TOWN” shall mean the Town of Townsend
“Close Relative” shall mean a person’s parents, spouse, children (natural or adopted) and siblings of the whole and half blood.
“Compensation” shall mean any money, thing of value or any other economic benefit of any kind or nature whatsoever conferred on or received by any official or employee of the Town for any service rendered or to be rendered by the official or employee or by another.
“Employee” shall include all employees of the Town of Townsend.
“Kick Back” shall mean any payment, gratuity or benefit paid or to be made on behalf of any bidder, contractor, prospective contractor, subcontractor, prospective subcontractor or any person associated with any of them to any official or employee as an inducement or reward for the employment of a contract, subcontract, order or favor.
“Financial Interest” is in interest in a private enterprise which a person has a (1) he has a legal or equitable ownership interest in the enterprise of at least one percent (1%) or more in the case of a corporation whose stock is regularly traded on an established securities market or he has a legal or equitable ownership interest in an enterprise other than that if a corporation whose stock is not regularly traded on an established securities market of at least ten percent (10%); or (2) he is an employee, officer, partner, director, manager, trustee of an enterprise and receives from that enterprise during the immediate preceding calendar year or might reasonably expect to receive from the enterprise during the current or next calendar year income in excess of Five Thousand ($5,000.00) for services as a manager, employee, agent, partner, member, director or officer of such private enterprise; (3) he is a creditor of a private enterprise in an amount equal to at least one percent (1%) of the total debt in the case of a corporation whose securities are regularly traded on an established securities market or of at least ten percent (10%) of the total debt of an enterprise whose securities are not regularly traded on an established market.
“Matter” means any application, petition, request, business dealing, contract, subcontract, or any other transaction of any sort with The Town of Townsend.
“Official” means any elected or appointed official of The Town of Townsend and all members of any committee or commission appointed by the Mayor of the Town of Townsend or appointed by the Town Council.
“Official Responsibility” shall mean any direct administrative or operating authority at any level, either exercisable alone or with others, either personally or through subordinates to approve, disapprove, recommend or otherwise direct action on behalf of The Town of Townsend.
“Person” means any individual, natural person, joint stock company, partnership, voluntary association, society, club firm, company, corporation, business trust, organization or any other group acting as a unit, or the manager, lessee, agent, servant, partner, member, director, officer or employee of any of them.
“Personal or Private” is an interest in a matter which intends to impair the independent judgment of an official or employee in the performance of his duties with respect to that matter.
“Private Enterprise” means any activity conducted by any person, whether conducted for profit or not for profit and includes the ownership of real and personal property. Private enterprise may include the activities of the State or any other political subdivision of the State or any agency, authority or instrumentality thereof.

Standards of Conduct for Officials and Employee
. The following standards of conduct shall be applicable to all officials, whether elected or appointed, and all employees of the Town:

No official or employee shall participate on behalf of the Town in the review or disposition of any matter pending before the Town or before a committee or commission thereof in which he has a personal or private interest; provided however, that the prohibition set forth herein shall not apply if the person who has official responsibility with respect to the matter requests any person who has personal or private interest to respond to questions concerning any such matter.
No Official or employee shall use his position to secure special privileges or exemptions for himself or others whether for compensation, gratuity or without any compensation or gratuity.
No official or employee shall solicit, demand, accept or agree to accept from another person anything of a pecuniary value for or because of any official action taken or to be taken or which could be taken or any legal duty, to be performed or which could be performed by such official or employee.

In any case where a person has a statutory responsibility with respect to action or non-action on any matter in which he may have a personal or private interest and there is no provision for the delegation of such responsibility to another person nor is there any provision for the designation of another person to take action or to refrain from taking action, the person may exercise responsibility with respect to such matter provided he promptly after becoming aware of such personal or private interest, files a written statement with the Town fully disclosing the personal or private interest and explaining why it is not possible to delegate responsibility for the matter to another person.

Contraction with Town
The Town shall not make or enter into any contract in excess of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) for materials, supplies, work or labor for the benefit and use of the Town with any official or employee of the Town or with any partnership in which any official or employee is a general partner or in any corporation in which any corporation in which official or employee is a director or controlling stockholder or with any firm or company in which any official or employee has pecuniary interested unless all the elected members of the Town Council, other than the interested official or employee vote to execute such contract. Any such contract executed without such unanimous vote and consent shall be absolutely null and void.
Any person being awarded a contract with the Town in excess of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) shall execute such documents as may be required by the Town and shall represent that no such person has been retained to solicit or secure the contract with the Town upon an agreement or understanding for a commission, percentage, brokerage or contingent fee, excepting for bona fide employee, bona fide established, commercial agencies maintained by the person representing the contracting party for the purpose of securing business.

Conduct Unbecoming
No elected or appointed official and no employee shall engage in any conduct that has a negative reflection on the Town of Townsend, nor shall engage in any act that creates an appearance of impropriety. Conduct unbecoming shall not be grounds for criminal action, unless the party has been duly warned and refuses to correct his conduct.

In addition to any other penalty set forth herein, any person violation any of the provisions of the Chapter, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof in a court of competent jurisdiction shall be fined not less than Fifty Dollars ($50.00) nor more than Two Hundred ($200.00) or be imprisoned for a term of not more than twenty (20) days, or both, and shall pay the costs of prosecution.

First & Second Reading: 04/06/05
Public Hearing: 06/01/05
Third & Final Reading: 06/01/05
Signed by Mayor, David B. Raughley: 06/01/05



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