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Town of Sweden Actually Has a Code of Ethics

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It’s hard to believe that the Town of Sweden has a Code of Ethics, but it’s true. The Code of Ethics is only 929 words long, and it is published on the town website.

Unfortunately, with all the political shenanigans going on in the Town of Sweden, it’s pretty obvious that nobody on the Town Council has bothered to read the Code of Ethics, since it was last updated in 2001.

Perhaps it’s time for the Town Council to dust off the Code of Ethics, read it, and then start following the rules laid down there.

If you are not familiar with the political scandals brewing in the Sweden Town Council, then go to David Markham’s blog, The Brockporter. It’s probably the best place to start.

The scandals have something for everyone -- sex, corruption, even a little bit of blackmail – so it’s worth the effort to check it out.

The comments posted on two articles on The Brockporter explain the situation as well as anyone could explain it.

Last Thursday, The Brockporter posted, What is a conflict of interest? It included a training video done recently in New York City on conflicts of interest.

David Markham hit the nail right on the head, and 26 people posted comments. That web page, and those comments, explain the situation in just about the perfect way. People give their names and speak their minds.

If you weren’t aware of the scandals wracking Sweden Town government, you will be by the time you finish reading the comments.

Nobody pulls any punches, and it’s pretty easy to verify what those people have to say. It’s all part of the public record, and if you have any questions, please ask them at the next Town Council Meeting this Tuesday.

The other article is Will Sweden Town Council members apologize to citizens for breaking the Open Meeting law?

The article struck close to home, and 16 people posted comments. Once again, those comments say it all. From reading those comments, it is pretty obvious that people in Sweden are now aware of the political corruption that seems rampant in the Sweden town government.

The question is: will they look the other way, as several prominent Republicans in Sweden did recently? Or will the voters throw the bums out?

Here is the complete text of the Sweden Code of Ethics as published on the town website.Read it and weep.

Chapter 19. ETHICS, CODE OF

[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Sweden 12-2-1970. Amendments noted where applicable.]
§ 19-1. Legislative intent.

The Town Board of the Town of Sweden recognizes that there are state statutory provisions mandating towns to establish rules and standards of ethical conduct for public officers and employees which, if observed, can enhance public confidence in local government. In the light of a tendency today on the part of some people to downgrade our local governments and to discredit our public servants and our free institutions generally, it appears necessary that every effort be made to assure the highest caliber of public administration of this Town as part of our state's important system of local government. It is the purpose of this Code of Ethics to implement this objective through the establishment of standards of conduct and to provide for punishment of violations of such standards as provided for herein.

§ 19-2. Applicability of other laws.
The standards, prohibited acts and procedures established herein are in addition to any prohibited acts, conflicts of interest provisions or procedures prescribed by statute of the State of New York and also in addition to common law rules and judicial decisions relating to the conduct of Town officers to the extent that the same are more severe in application than this code.

§ 19-3. Definitions.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

INTEREST
A pecuniary or material benefit accruing to a municipal employee, unless the context requires otherwise.

TOWN
Any board, commission, district, council or other agency, department or unit of the government of the Town of Sweden.

TOWN EMPLOYEE
Any officer or employee of the Town of Sweden, whether paid or unpaid, whether serving in a full-time, part-time or advisory capacity.

§ 19-4. Conflicts of interest.
No Town employee shall have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage in any business or transaction or professional activity or incur any obligation of any nature which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his duties in the public interest.

§ 19-5. Standards of conduct.
[Amended 12-27-2001]
An officer or employee is subject to, and must abide by, the following standards of conduct:

A. No Town employee shall accept other employment which impairs the employee's independence of judgment in the exercise of the employee's official duties.

B. No Town employee shall accept employment or engage in any business or professional activity which will require the employee to disclose confidential information which the employee has gained by reason of the employee's official position or authority.

C. No Town employee shall use or attempt to use the employee's official position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for the employee or others.

D. No Town employee shall engage in any transaction as representative or agent of the Town with any business activity in which the employee has a direct or indirect financial interest that might reasonably tend to conflict with the proper discharge of the employee's official duties.

E. A Town employee shall not, by the employee's conduct, give reasonable basis for the impression that any person can improperly influence the employee or unduly enjoy the employee's favor in the performance of the employee's official duties or that the employee is affected by the kinship, rank, position or influence of any party or person.

F. Each Town employee shall abstain from making personal investments in enterprises which the employee has reason to believe may be directly involved in decisions to be made by the employee or which will otherwise create substantial conflict between the employee's duty in the public interest and the employee's private interest.

G. Each Town employee shall endeavor to pursue a course of conduct which will not raise suspicion among the public that the employee is likely to be engaged in acts that are in violation of the employee's trust.

H. No Town employee shall either directly or indirectly sell, acquire, barter, lend, exchange, use or dispose of any Town property whatsoever.

[Amended 8-22-2006 by L.L. No. 3-2006]

I. No Town employee employed on a full-time basis nor any firm or association of which such employee is a member nor any corporation, a substantial portion of the stock of which is owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by such employee, shall sell goods or services to any person, firm, corporation or association which is licensed or whose rates are fixed by the town in which such employee serves or is employed.

§ 19-6. Penalties for offenses.
[Amended 12-27-2001]
In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law, any person who shall knowingly and intentionally violate any of the provisions of this code may be fined, suspended or removed from office or employment, as the case may be, in the manner provided by law.

§ 19-7. Distribution to employees; posting.
Upon the adoption of this code, the Town Supervisor shall cause a copy thereof to be distributed to every Town employee of this Town. Failure to distribute any such copy or failure of any Town employee to receive such copy shall have no effect on the duty of compliance with this code nor the enforcement of provisions hereof. The Town Supervisor shall further cause a copy of this code to be kept posted conspicuously in each public building under the jurisdiction of the Town. Failure to so post this code shall have no effect on the duty of compliance herewith nor the enforcement of provisions hereof.

§ 19-8. Filing with State Comptroller.
Within 30 days of the adoption of this code, the Town Clerk shall file a copy thereof in the office of the State Comptroller.

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