Citizens for North County
PROPOSED CARLSBAD ETHICS CODE & BOARD
An ordinance of the City Council of the City of Carlsbad, California, establishing a Board of Ethics and Adopting a Code of Ethics.
The City Council of the City of Carlsbad, California, does ordain as follows:
Section 1: Chapter 1.15 entitled “Code of Ethics” is hereby adopted to read as shown in Exhibit ‘A.’
Section 2: Chapter 2.25 entitled “Board of Ethics” is hereby adopted to read as shown in Exhibit ‘B.’
Section 3: The City Council finds that the adoption of a Code of Ethics and the establishment of a Board of Ethics will promote the highest standards of ethics by all public officials at all levels of government in the City of Carlsbad and increase public confidence such that all public officials are conducting the public’s business in a manner so that it is in the paramount interest above all else.
Effective Date: This ordinance shall be effective thirty days after its adoption and the City Clerk shall certify to the adoption and cause it to be published at least once in a publication of general circulation in the City of Carlsbad within fifteen days after its adoption.
Introduced and first read at a regular meeting of the Carlsbad City Council on the
___________ of _____________ ,2016, and thereafter.
Passed, approved and adopted at a regular meeting of the Carlsbad City Council on ___________ of ____________, 2016.
Approved as to form and legality
City Attorney for Carlsbad Matt Hall
Mayor’s Office, City of Carlsbad
CODE OF ETHICS
1.15.010 Establishment of the code of ethics.
2.01.020 Application of the code of ethics.
2.01.030 Code of Ethics.
1.15.010 Establishment of the code of ethics.
Public office is a public trust and City officials shall exercise their public duties in a manner that preserves that trust. The public’s trust can best be preserved if City officials adhere to a high standard of ethics that transcends the standards prescribed by law. High ethical standards require that all City officials understand and avoid unethical behavior. Unethical behavior can develop in a variety of situations, but it occurs when the public interest is not the sole and paramount interest in all actions conducted by all City officials. The purpose of this chapter is to encourage the highest standards of behavior by City officials, increase public confidence in City officials, to identify and take appropriate action with respect to unethical behavior, and to assist City officials with decision-making in areas of ethical concern. Accordingly, the code of ethics is hereby established.
2.01.020 Application of the code of ethics.
The code of ethics shall apply only to City officials. “City officials” shall mean members of the Carlsbad City Council, including the Mayor, the City Manager, the City Attorney, the City Clerk, board member and commissioners, Assistant City Managers, City department heads, as well as x-City officials who were subject to this chapter. The Board of Ethics shall investigate violations of the code of ethics as set forth in Chapter 2.25 CMC.
2.01.030 Code of Ethics.
The code of ethics is divided into two areas: guiding principles, as set forth in subsections (A) and (B) of this section, and specific prohibitions, as set forth in subsection (C) of this section. The guiding principles are intended to provide a set of principles from which City officials can draw upon to assist them in conducting the public’s business. As such, the guiding principles are directory in nature and not subject to the complaint procedures set forth in CMC 2.25.090 through 2.25.150. The specific prohibitions are actions that City officials shall not engage in, and, as such, are subject to the complaint procedures set forth in CMC 2.25.090 through 2.25.150.
Guiding Principles. The public judges its government by the way City officials conduct themselves in the posts to which they are elected or appointed. All City officials should conduct themselves in a manner that will tend to preserve public confidence in, and respect for, the government they represent. The purpose of these guiding principles is to encourage the highest standards of behavior by City officials, transcending the standards required by law, increase public confidence in the City officials that serve the public; and assist City officials with decision-making in areas of ethical concern. City officials, in the performance of their duties, should strive to adhere to the following guiding principles:
1. City officials are agents of public purpose and hold office for the benefit of the public. As such, City officials have a duty to act in the best interests of the public. City officials must strive to protect the public’s resources through diligent and judicious management.
2. City officials should not engage in, permit, or condone fraud, but should be proactive to identify fraud and seek to correct the causes that lead to the fraud. Fraud in public service includes, but is not limited to, making false or misleading representations about a material fact or engaging in deceitful conduct.
3. City officials should not engage in, permit, or condone waste, but should be proactive to identify waste and seek to correct the causes that lead to the waste. Waste in public service involves the extravagant, careless, or needless expenditure of City funds, or the consumption of City property, that results from deficient practices, systems, controls, or decisions.
4. City officials should not engage in, permit, or condone abuse, but should be proactive to identify abuse and seek to correct the causes that lead to the abuse. Abuse involves the improper use of City resources, including abuse of position, authority, or resources such as tolls, vehicles, or other City property.
5. City officials must be loyal to the public they serve and should put the public’s interests above their personal interests.
6. City officials must protect and enhance the image and reputation of the City.
7. City officials must treat all citizens conducting business with the City with due courtesy, efficiency, and impartiality, and no one citizen shall receive special advantage.
8. City officials must always be mindful of the public trust and confidence in the exercise of their assigned duties and shall refuse to condone breaches of public trust or improper attempts to influence the decision-making process.
9. City officials must always be mindful of conflict of interest laws and abide by them.
10. City officials must be aware of all their financial interests, thereby ensuring that such financial interests do not influence their conduct or actions.
11. City officials should avoid an appearance of a conflict of interest when possible. Recusal or abstention is appropriate when a good faith determination has been made by the City official that such action is required. However, elected officials subject to this chapter are reminded that they are elected to conduct the public’s business and should not abstain or recuse themselves without cause.
12. City officials are expected to abide by all local, state, and federal laws.
13. The City values the ability of the boards and commissions to provide honest, forthright, learned, and independent advice to the City, thereby fostering greater public input into the conduct of City government. Accordingly, while City officials may attend City board and commission meeting, City officials should be mindful that their actions, whether intentional or not, may unduly impair or influence the boards’ and commissions’ ability to provide honest, forthright, learned, and independent advice to the City and, therefore, City officials should avoid such actions.
B. Additional Guiding Principles for Board of Ethics Members. In addition to the guiding principles set forth in subsection (A) of this section, Board of Ethics members should adhere to the following:
1. A Board of Ethics member that is a candidate for elected office should not engage in political or campaign activity that is inconsistent with the independence, integrity, or impartiality of the Board of Ethics, including, but not limited to, commenting on complaints that have been before or may appear before the Board of Ethics or endorsing another candidate for any elected office using their title as current or former Board of Ethics member. A reference by a Board of Ethics member, in their own campaign materials, that they are or have been a member of the Board of Ethics alone does not violate this guiding principle.
2. A Board of Ethics member should conduct their outside activities so as to minimize the risk of conflicts with their duties as a Board of Ethics member.
3. A Board of Ethics member should perform their duties impartially. To accomplish the aforementioned guiding principle, a Board of Ethics member should refrain from participating in a matter before the Board of Ethics when they have a personal interest in the matter or, outside of a Board of Ethics meeting, have advocated, supported, or taken a position on that matter.
C. Specific Prohibitions. It is prohibited and shall be deemed unethical for a City official to engage in one or more of the following actions:
1. Accept gifts, favors, or promises of future benefits, which might compromise or tend to impair independence of judgment or action.
2. Use their official title or position for personal gain. Personal gain includes, but is not limited to, situations wherein a City official solicits or accepts items of value in consideration of their official title or position. This section does not include obtaining benefits that are otherwise authorized by law.
3. Divulge confidential information for personal gain or for the gain of associates in a manner contrary to the public interest or in violation of any law.
4. Use or permit the use of City resources including but not limited to funds, seals or logos, City time, personnel, supplies, equipment, identification cards/badges or facilities for unapproved non-City activities, except when available to the general public, provided for by administrative regulations or policies, or approved by City Council.
5. For current City officials, appear on behalf of the private interests of third parties before the Council or any board, commission or proceeding of the City; nor shall members of boards, commissions, and other advisory boards appear before their own bodies or before the Council on behalf of the private interests of third parties on matters related to the areas of service of their bodies, except for limited exceptions, as provided for in Fair Political Practices Commission Regulations, including Section 18702.4.
6. No ex-City official (not including former elected City officials) for a period of one year after leaving office or employment shall, for compensation, act as an agent or attorney for, or otherwise represent, any other person by making oral or written communication before any City administrative office or agency or officer or employee thereof, if the appearance of communication is made for the purpose of influencing any action or proceeding involving the issuance, amendment, awarding, or revocation of a permit, license, grant, or contract for the sale or purchase of goods or property.
7. No former member of the City Council, including the Mayor, shall be eligible to appear as a compensated representative at any time before the Council, or any commission, board, or City staff in connection with any case or other matter with which he/she personally participated while an official or employee of the City for 12 months following the date of separation from elected or appointed office, except by permission of the City Council finding on four-fifths vote that special identified and articulated circumstances exist, cast at a regular public meeting taken after the involved member of the City Council has left office. Such special identified and articulated circumstances include, but are not limited to, determinations that it is in the best interest of the City to permit such representation, that the former Councilmember, including the Mayor, is uniquely qualified to appear on the matter, or it is impractical to require another representative to appear on the matter.
8. Endorse or recommend for compensation any commercial product or service in the name of the City or in the employee’s official capacity within the City without prior approval by a City Council policy.
9. Violate Government Code Section 87100 related to financial interests and governmental decisions made by them. If a complaint is filed with the Board of Ethics alleging a violation of this subsection, the Board of Ethics recognizes that the Fair Political Practices Commission (“FPPC”) is the primary enforcement authority of the Political Reform Act and that their decisions should be given great weight. As such, if a complaint is filed concurrently, then the Board of Ethics may defer action on such allegation, as set forth in this chapter. If a complaint is not filed concurrently, the Board of Ethics may submit a complaint to the FPPC and defer action until such complaint is addressed by the FPPC. A ruling on the merits by the FPPC may be accepted as a finding of the Board.
10. No City official shall coerce any of their subordinates or any other City employee to participate in an election campaign, contribute to a candidate or political committee, engage in any other political activity relating to a particular party, candidate, or issue, or to refrain from engaging in any lawful political activity. A general statement encouraging another person to vote does not violate this prohibition.
11. No City official shall display campaign materials in any City-owned vehicle under their control and operated by that City official. Campaign materials include, but are not limited to, bumper stickers, signs, or other similar items.
12. No City official shall aid and abet another City official to violate the specific prohibitions enumerated in this subsection, nor shall they aid and abet any person to engage in conduct that would constitute a violation of the specific prohibitions enumerated in this subsection on their behalf.
13. No City official shall negotiate for employment with any person, firm, or organization at the same time that aforementioned person, firm, or organization has a matter pending before City Council, board or commission, or a City department and upon which the City official must act or make a recommendation.
If any provision of this chapter, or the application of any such provision to any person or circumstance, shall be held invalid, the remainder of this chapter to the extent it can be given effect, or the application of those provisions to persons or circumstances other than those as to which it is held invalid, shall not be affected thereby, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are severable.
PROPOSED CARLSBAD CODE OF ETHICS