The Ethics Resource Center tell us: "A code of conduct is intended to be a central guide and reference for users in support of day-to-day decision making. It is meant to clarify an organization's mission, values and principles, linking them with standards of professional conduct. As a reference, it can be used to locate relevant documents, services and other resources related to ethics within the organization."
"A code is an open disclosure of the way an organization operates. It provides visible guidelines for behavior. A well-written and thoughtful code also serves as an important communication vehicle that "reflects the covenant that an organization has made to uphold its most important values, dealing with such matters as its commitment to employees, its standards for doing business and its relationship with the community." http://www.ethics.org/resources/wy-have-code.asp
The City of Bellingham does not have an Ethics Ordinance. Below, I have posted excerpts from the City of Spokane's Code of Ethics for your review and consideration.
It is the policy of the City of Spokane to uphold, promote and demand the highest standards of ethics from all of its employees and officers, whether elected, appointed or hired. City officers and employees shall maintain the utmost standards of responsibility, trustworthiness, integrity, truthfulness, honesty and fairness in carrying out their public duties, avoid any improprieties in their roles as public servants including the appearance of impropriety, and never use their City position, authority or resources for personal gain.
Title 01 General Provisions
Chapter 01.04 Code of EthicsSection 01.04.030 Prohibited Conduct
The following shall constitute violations of this code of ethics:
General Prohibition Against Conflicts of Interest.
In order to avoid becoming involved or implicated in a conflict of interest or impropriety, or an appearance of conflict of interest or impropriety, no current City officer or employee shall have an interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage in a business or transaction or professional activity, or incur an obligation of any nature, that might be seen as conflicting with the City officer or employee’s proper discharge of his official duties, the conduct of official City business or as adverse to the interests of the City.
Performance of a legally required duty by a City officer or employee shall not be considered a violation of the code of ethics.
Personal Interests in Contracts Prohibited.
No City officer or employee shall participate in his capacity as a City officer or employee in the making of a contract in which he has a personal interest, direct or indirect, or performs in regard to such a contract some function requiring the exercise of discretion on behalf of the City. Except, that this prohibition shall not apply where the City officer or employee has only a remote interest in the contract, and where the fact and extent of such interest is disclosed and noted in the official minutes or similar records of the City prior to formation of the contract, and thereafter the governing body authorizes, approves or ratifies the contract in good faith by a vote of its membership sufficient for the purpose without counting the vote or votes of the officer(s) having the remote interest as defined below.
For purposes of this section, a “remote interest” means: that of a non-salaried officer of a nonprofit corporation; that of an employee or agent of a contracting party where the compensation of such employee or agent consists entirely of fixed wages or salary; that of a landlord or tenant of a contracting party; that of a holder of less than one percent of the shares of a corporation, limited liability company or other entity which is a contracting party.
Personal Influence in Contract Selection Prohibited.
No City officer or employee shall influence the City’s selection of, or its conduct of business with, a corporation, person or firm having or proposing to do business with the City if the City officer or employee has a personal interest in or with the corporation, person or firm, unless such interest is a remote interest and where the fact and extent of such interest is disclosed and noted in the official minutes or similar records of the City prior to formation of the contract, as defined in the preceding section. Provided, however, that no City officer or employee may receive anything of value from the City as a result of any contract to which the City shall be a party except for the officer or employee’s salary or lawful compensation.
Representation of Private Person at City Proceeding Prohibited.
No City officer or employee shall appear on behalf of a private person, other than himself or a family member or household member, as defined in this chapter, or except as a witness under subpoena, before any regulatory governmental agency or court of law in an action or proceeding to which the City or a City officer in an official capacity is a party, or accept a retainer or compensation that is contingent upon a specific action by the City. Representation of a private person pursuant to a legally required duty by a City officer or employee is permitted and shall not be considered a violation of the code of ethics.
Certain Private Employment Prohibited.
No City officer or employee shall engage in or accept private employment, or render services for, any private interest when such employment or service is incompatible with the proper discharge of official duties or would tend to impair independence of judgment or action in the performance of official duties.
Personal Interest in Legislation Prohibited.
No City officer or employee may benefit either directly or indirectly from any legislation or contract to which the City shall be a party except for the lawful compensation or salary of the officer or employee unless such interest is a remote interest where the facts and extent of such interest is disclosed. City council members’ participation in the enactment of legislation shall be governed by chapter 42.23 RCW – The Code of Ethics for Municipal Officers and chapter 42.36 RCW – The Appearance of Fairness Doctrine. City council members shall not be prohibited from participating in the adoption of legislation when the council member has only a remote interest in the legislation, which has been disclosed, and the legislation is applicable to the general public and not unique to the council member.
Disclosure of Confidential Information Prohibited.
No City officer or employee shall disclose or use any confidential, privileged or proprietary information gained by reason of his official position for a purpose which is for other than a City purpose or beyond the scope of the officer or employee’s authority or responsibility; provided, that nothing shall prohibit the disclosure or use of information which is a matter of public knowledge, or which is available to the public on request.
Improper Use of Position Prohibited.
No City officer or employee shall knowingly use his office or position to secure personal benefit, gain or profit, or use his position to secure special privileges or exceptions for himself or for the benefit, gain or profits of any other persons.
Improper Use of City Personnel Prohibited.No City officer or employee shall employ or use the employment of any person under the officer’s or employee’s official control or direction for the personal benefit, gain or profit of the officer or employee or another.
Improper Use of City Property Prohibited.
No City officer or employee shall use City-owned vehicles, equipment, materials, money or property for personal or private convenience or profit. Use is restricted to such services as are available to the public generally, for the authorized conduct of official business, and for such purposes and under such conditions as can be reasonably expected to be approved by City policies.
Acceptance of Compensation, Gifts, Favors, Rewards or Gratuity Prohibited.
No City officer or employee may, directly or indirectly, give or receive, or agree to give or receive, any compensation, gift, favor, reward or gratuity for a matter connected with or related to the officer’s or employee’s services with the City of Spokane. This prohibition shall not apply to those items which are excluded from the definition of gift in SMC 1.04.020.
Impermissible Conduct After Leaving City Service.
Disclosure of Privileged, Confidential or Proprietary Information Prohibited.No former officer or employee shall disclose or use any privileged, confidential or proprietary information gained because of his City employment.
Participation in City Matters Prohibited.
No former officer or employee shall, within a period of one year after leaving City office or employment: participate in matters involving the City if, while in the course of employment with the City, the former officer or employee was officially involved in the matter, or personally and substantially participated in the matter, or acted on the matter; represent any person as an advocate in any matter in which the former officer or employee was involved while a City officer or employee; or participate as or with a bidder, vendor or consultant in any competitive selection process for a City contract in which he assisted the City in determining the project, or work to be done, or the process to be used.
Duty to Inform.
Whenever a City officer or employee wishes to contract with a former City officer or employee for expert or consultant services within one year of the latter’s leaving City service, advance notice shall be given to and approval received from the ethics committee. Said approval shall be in written form and copied to the deputy mayor at the same time that it is given to the individual making the request.
Exceptions. The prohibitions of subsections (2)(a) and (2)(b) of this section shall not apply to a former officer or employee acting on behalf of a governmental agency if the ethics committee has determined that the service to the agency is not adverse to the interest of the City.
Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit an official elected to serve a governmental entity other than the City of Spokane from carrying out their official duties for that government entity.
Date Passed: Monday, January 22, 2007
Effective Date: Sunday, March 4, 2007
Recodification ORD C33969 Section 1
RECALL OF ELECTED OFFICIAL FOR VIOLATION OF CODE OF ETHICS
Title 01 General Provisions
Chapter 01.04 Code of EthicsSection 01.04.065 Recall of Elected Official for Violation of Code of Ethics
Pursuant to City Charter Section 8.5, the city council may consider a resolution to place an elected official’s name on a recall ballot based upon the ethics committee’s recommendation to the city council that the elected official be subject to a recall election. The ethics committee must determine that: an elected official of the City has knowingly committed a violation of the code of ethics, the violation constitutes moral turpitude rendering the elected official unfit to remain in office, and there are no mitigating circumstances.
In considering whether to place an elected official’s name on a recall ballot, the city council shall have a resolution submitted to the city clerk’s office setting forth the ethics committee’s determination and recommendation regarding the violation of the code of ethics and calling for a public hearing on the matter. The city council shall schedule a hearing at least thirty days from the date the resolution is submitted to the city clerk’s office. A copy of the resolution and hearing date shall be personally served upon the elected official.
At the time the city council is scheduled to consider the resolution, the chairperson of the ethics committee or the ethics committee’s designee shall appear before the city council to present the ethics committee’s determination and recommendation. The ethics committee shall deliver to the city council all records maintained by the committee created pursuant to its review and determination of the matter. The elected official who is the subject of the ethics committee’s shall be given an opportunity to respond to the ethics committee’s determination and recommendation and to present argument against passage of the resolution by the city council to place the elected officials name on a recall ballot. Both the ethics committee’s representative and the elected official shall be permitted to respond to questions from the city council.
The city council, by a vote of a majority plus two of the city council, may pass the resolution to place the elected official’s name on a recall election ballot for action by the voters of the City on the next available general or special election established by state law. The city clerk’s office shall forward the required resolution to the Spokane County auditor’s office pursuant to state law requesting the ballot proposition be placed on the next available general or special election. The city attorney’s office shall be responsible for preparing a ballot synopsis for the recall election and any necessary resolutions or other legal documents.
If approved by a majority of the electors voting in the election, the elected official shall be removed from office effective the date the recall election results are certified by the Spokane County auditor.
Date Passed: Monday, May 7, 2007
Effective Date: Wednesday, June 20, 2007
City of Spokane Municpal Code: http://www.spokanecity.org/services/documents/smc/?Section=01.04.065