CODE OF ETHICS
Recognizing the need to provide a standard code to cover the conduct of Councillors and employees of the Town of Trinity, the following Code of Ethics Policy is adopted. This Code is meant to govern all members of Council and employees of Council, either full-time, part-time, consultants, contractual employees or any other person, paid or un-paid, that has been hired or appointed by the municipality to conduct or work in the public interest.
It is the purpose of this Policy to ensure the following:
That the operation of Municipal Government in the Town of Trinity requires that Councillors and employees of the Town be independent, impartial and responsible to the people of the Town of Trinity.
That government decisions be made in the proper channels of the governmental structure.
That no Councillor or employee should have any interest, financially or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage in any business transaction or professional activity, or incur any obligation of any nature which is in conflict with the proper discharge of their duties in the public interest.
That public office not be used for personal gain.
That the Town Council shall, at all times, be maintained as a representative body of those it was elected to serve and that all deliberations be conducted openly in an atmosphere of respect and civility. *
*The EXCEPTION to this rule is when a Council is discussing and considering personnel, legal or property related issues. These discussions should be held in camera or in a privileged meeting. The details of the discussions should be considered confidential and NEVER be made public. Only the final decisions made about the issue which would require official council ratification, by a motion, in a public meeting, need to be brought forward.
Council and the Town Clerk will be responsible for providing an environment that fosters strong ethics.
Councillors and employees shall support the maintenance of a positive and constructive work place
environment for themselves and for the residents and businesses dealing with the municipality.
Councillors shall recognize their special role of dealing with municipal staff and in no way provide inappropriate direction or create the perception of inappropriate direction to employees.
Councillors and employees shall represent the policies and positions of the municipality to the best of their ability when designated as delegates for this purpose. When presenting their personal opinions and positions, they shall explicitly state they do not represent the municipal governments views or position, nor will they allow the inference that they do.
Councillors and employees will respect and adhere to the approved policy document process. Council determines the policies and procedures of the municipality with the advice, information and analysis provided by staff, appointed committees, commissions, boards and the public. Staff are responsible for the implementation of the approved policies following the procedures as outlined by Council.
Councillors shall not interfere with the administrative or operational functions of the municipality or the professional duties of the staff.; nor shall they impair the ability of staff to implement Council policy decisions.
No member of Council or employee of the Town of Trinity shall, without prior seeking approval from their Supervisor or Council:
1) Accept any gift, favour or promise of future benefits from any person, firm or corporation that might reasonably tend to influence them in the discharge of their official duties, or grant in the discharge of their official duties any improper favour, service or anything of value.
Any random draw or contest won at a Council sponsored event shall remain the property of the employee/member of Council if its suggested retail price is less than $500. Any item with the value above $500 shall be declared and ownership transferred to the Town of Trinity.
2) Grant any special consideration, treatment, or advantage to any citizen, individual, or group beyond that which is available to every other citizen, individual or group.
3) Disclose information that could adversely affect the property, government, or affairs of the Town, nor directly or indirectly, use any information gained by reason of their official position or employment for their own personal gain or benefit or for the private interest of others. Council members are under a legal duty to act in the best interest of the municipality. An elected Councillor occupies a public office and has a duty not to act in a manner detrimental to the interest of the municipality. A breach of that duty can, under certain circumstances, create liability with the individual Councillor.
4) Transact any business on behalf of the Town in their official capacity with any business entity with which they are an officer, agent or member, or in which they own a substantial interest. In the event that such a circumstance should arise, then they shall make known their interest, and in the case of an officer, abstain from voting on the matter, or in the case of an employee, turn the matter over to Council, state the reasons for doing so and have nothing further to do with the matter involved.
5) Shall engage in any outside activities which will conflict with, or will be incompatible with, the duties assigned to them in the employment of the Town, or reflect discredit upon the Town, or in which their employment in the Town will give them an advantage over others engaged in a similar business, vocation or activity.
6) Accept other employment or engage in outside activities incompatible with the full and proper discharge of their duties and responsibilities with the Town, or which might impair their independent judgment in the performance of their public duty.
7) Receive any fee or compensation for their service as an officer or employee of the Town from any source other than the Town, except as may be otherwise provided by law. This shall not prohibit their performing the same or other services for a private organization that they perform for the Town if there is no conflict with their responsibilities.
8)Use municipal property, equipment, supplies, staff time or services of consequence, for activities connected with the discharge of official duties or associated community activities without having the sanction of Council.
If public resources are available to the municipality in general and as a matter of policy, at no cost or for a cost determined by motion of Council (eg. rental or cost for service fees), Councillors and employees shall have the same access to these resources and in the same manner as the public.
9) Represent, directly or indirectly, or appear on behalf of private interests of others before any agency of the Town or any of its agencies.
10) Advocate on behalf of a member of his or her family to be hired, employed, promoted, transferred or advanced to any full or part-time employment with the Town of Trinity. Nor shall a Town official or employee participate in any action relating to the discipline of a member of their family.
11) Use their official position to secure special privileges or exemptions for themselves or others.
The foregoing does not deny any right or privilege of a third party that is guaranteed under Federal and Provincial Law. It simply means that where the representation of a right or privilege is incompatible with a position held by a Councillor or employee, arrangements must be made for an independent and separate representation on the issue to the municipal government.
Where the advocacy of a right or privilege is occasional and infrequent or involves little or no discretion, the advocate shall abstain from any action as a Councillor or employee that would reasonably appear to influence the outcome of the matter, such as voting on the matter, sitting on a board or tribunal charged with deciding the issue when the issue is to be decided; or in the case of an employee, personally processing the matter.
Where the advocacy of a right or privilege is usual and frequent or can reasonably be expected to arise in due course of ones occupation or profession, then the Councillor or employee shall remove themselves from their position with the Town, until such position of incompatibility ceases to exist.
Disclosure of Interest:
Any member of Council or employee who has either a personal or private interest in any matter pending before their committee or before Council shall disclose such interest to the other members of the committee or Council and shall refrain from discussing the same with any other member of the committee or Council and shall not vote therein.
The failure of any employee to comply with or who violates one or more of the foregoing standards of conduct that applies to them shall be disciplined as per the municipalities Disciplinary Policy.
In the case of a member of Council, the matter shall be decided by a majority of the remainder of the Councillors, where decisions shall be final in the absence of bias, prejudice or fraud. If the Councillor in question is found to be in violation of the foregoing standards of conduct, the following shall apply:
1st instance: A verbal reprimand issued by the Mayor, (or by Council as a whole if the Mayor is the offending party).
2nd instance: A written reprimand issued by the Mayor (or by Council as a whole if the Mayor is the offending party).
3rd instance: A public statement of censure shall be issued reprimanding the offending party for their conduct. This will occur in a public meeting of Council.
This policy shall take effect immediately after it has been adopted by resolution of Council.
Approved by the Town Council of the Town of Trinity, Newfoundland and Labrador, on the ____ of ________________________ 2007.