Code of Ethics212.05 CODE OF ETHICS FOR BATTLE CREEK CITY COMMISSIONERS
The citizens of Battle Creek are entitled to have fair, ethical and accountable local government that has earned the public's full confidence for integrity.
Furthermore, the effective functioning of democratic government requires that public officials comply with both the letter and spirit of the laws and policies affecting the operations of government; public officials be independent, impartial and fair in their judgment and actions; public office be used for the public good, not for personal gain; and public deliberations and processes be conducted openly, unless legally confidential, in an atmosphere of respect and civility.
To this end, the Battle Creek City Commission adopts this Code of Ethics for Battle Creek City Commissioners to assure public confidence in the integrity of local government and its effective and fair operation.
(b) Code of Ethics
(1) Acts in the Public Interest
Recognizing that stewardship of the public interest must be their primary concern, City Commissioners will work for the common good of the people of Battle Creek and not for any private or personal interest, and they will assure fair and equal treatment of all persons, claims, and transactions coming before the Battle Creek City Commission.
(2) Compliance with Law
City Commissioners shall comply with the laws of the nation, the State of Michigan, and the City of Battle Creek in the performance of their public duties. These laws include, but are not limited to: the United States and Michigan constitutions; the Battle Creek City Charter; laws pertaining to conflicts of interest, contracts with public entities, election campaigns, financial disclosures, employer responsibilities, and open processes of government; and City ordinances and policies.
(3) Respect for Process
City Commissioners shall perform their duties in accordance with the processes and rules of order established by the City Commission governing the deliberation of public policy issues, meaningful involvement of the public, and implementation of policy decisions of the City Commission by City staff.
(4) Conduct of Public Meetings
City Commissioners shall prepare themselves for public issues, listen courteously and attentively to all public discussions before the body, and focus on the business at hand. They shall refrain from interrupting other speakers, making comments not germane to the business of the body, or otherwise interfering with the orderly conduct of meetings.
City Commissioners shall publicly share substantive information that is relevant to a matter under consideration by the City Commission, which they may have received from sources outside of the public decision-making process.
(6) Full Disclosure
A City Commissioner in the performance of their public duties shall not act upon any matter in which they have a material financial interest, or where they have a legal or fiduciary duty to another organization or entity or personal relationship that may give the appearance of a conflict of interest, without disclosing the full nature and extent of the interest to the other members of the City Commission on the official record. Such disclosure must be made before the time to perform their duty or concurrently with the performance of the duty.
The disclosure required by this subsection shall not supplant, but instead shall supplement, any disclosure of a personal, contractual, financial, business, employment or pecuniary interest required by state statute.
(7) Gifts, Favors, and Loans
A City Commissioner should refrain from financial and business dealings that would tend to reflect adversely on the Commissioner's impartiality, interfere with the performance of their public duties or exploit their official position. A City Commissioner should not take any special advantage of services, goods or opportunity for personal gain that is not available to the public in general.
A City Commissioner and any family member claimed as a dependent of the Commissioner shall refrain from soliciting or accepting any gifts, loans or favors except that a Commissioner and a family member claimed as a dependent of the Commissioner may:
i) Accept a gift or honorarium, not exceeding a value of $100, for services rendered in the performance of their public duties or other activity devoted to the improvement of cities, communities and the lives of citizens.
ii) Accept ordinary social hospitality; a gift, bequest, favor or loan from a relative; a wedding or engagement gift; a loan in the regular course of business from a lending institution on the same terms as generally available to the public; and a scholarship, grant or fellowship awarded on the same terms as applied to other applicants.
iii) Accept any other gift, favor or loan only if the donor is not a person or entity whose interests have come or are likely to come before the City Commission.
iv) Solicit and accept campaign contributions.
(8) Confidential Information
City Commissioners shall respect the confidentiality of information concerning the property, personnel or affairs of the City. They shall neither disclose nor divulge to an unauthorized person confidential information acquired in the course of their duties in advance of the time prescribed for its authorized release to the public without proper legal authorization, nor use such information to advance their personal, financial or other private interests.
(9) Use of Public Resources
Public resources, including City staff time, equipment, supplies, and facilities, not available to the public in general shall only be used for the benefit of the public and not for a City Commissioner’s personal or private use.
(10) Representation of Private Interests
In keeping with their role as stewards of the public interest, a City Commissioner shall not appear on behalf of the private interests of third parties, including their spouses and family members within the third degree of consanguinity to the City Commissioner or their spouse, before the City Commission or any board, committee, commission or proceeding of the City.
City Commissioners shall represent the official policies or positions of the City Commission to the best of their ability when designated as delegates for this purpose. When presenting their individual opinions and positions, City Commissioners shall explicitly state they do not represent their body or the City of Battle Creek, nor will they allow the inference that they do.
(12) Policy Role of Members
City Commissioners shall respect and adhere to the Commission-manager structure of Battle Creek city government as outlined by the Battle Creek City Charter. In this structure, the City Commission determines the policies of the City with the advice, information, and analysis provided by the public, subordinate boards, committees and commissions, and City staff.
City Commissioners therefore shall not interfere with the administrative functions of the City or the professional duties of City staff; nor shall they impair the ability of staff to implement City Commission policy decisions.
(13) Independence of Boards and Commissions
Because of the value of the independent advice of subordinate boards, committees, and commissions to the public decision-making process, members of the City Commission shall, except when the Commissioner is a member of the public body, limit their participation in the proceedings of such subordinate public bodies to the communication of requested information and providing factual information relevant to the discussion at hand and shall not otherwise attempt to unduly influence the deliberations or outcomes of the proceedings.
(14) Positive Workplace Environment
City Commissioners shall support the maintenance of a positive and constructive workplace environment for City employees and for citizens and businesses dealing with the City. City Commissioners shall recognize their special role in dealings with City employees so as to in no way create the perception of inappropriate direction to staff nor, except for the purpose of inquiry, give specific orders to subordinates of the City Manager or City Attorney.
Because City Commissioner actions and comments contribute to the environment in which all City employees must work, in order to create and promote a positive work environment under no circumstances shall a City Commissioner, either in public or private, intimidate, humiliate, or otherwise abuse a City employee.
(15) Compliance and Enforcement
This Code of Ethics for Battle Creek City Commissioners expresses standards of ethical conduct expected for members of the Battle Creek City Commission. City Commissioners themselves have the primary responsibility to assure that they understand and meet the ethical standards expressed in this code of ethics and that the public can continue to have full confidence in the integrity of government.
All City Commissioners shall have a responsibility to intervene when actions of another City Commissioner that appear to be in violation of the Code of Ethics are brought to their attention. Upon acquiring reasonable suspicion of a violation of the Code of Ethics, the Mayor shall set, or any three Commissioners may require the setting of, a public hearing at a regular or special meeting of the City Commission to determine whether a violation of the Code of Ethics occurred and, if so, what sanctions shall be imposed for the violation.
The City Commission may impose sanctions on City Commissioners whose conduct does not comply with the City's ethical standards. Sanctions may include reprimand, formal censure, loss of committee assignment, restrictions on budget or travel, and removal from office by the governor in the manner and for the causes provided by law.
A violation of this code of ethics shall not be considered a basis for challenging the validity of a City Commission decision.
As an expression of the standards of conduct for City Commissioners expected by the public, this Code of Ethics is intended to be self-enforcing. It therefore becomes most effective when City Commissioners are thoroughly familiar with it and embrace its provisions.
For this reason, ethical standards shall be included in the regular orientations for newly elected or appointed City Commissioners. City Commissioners entering office shall sign a statement affirming that they have read and understand The Code of Ethics for Battle Creek City Commissioners.
In addition, the City Commission shall annually review The Code of Ethics for Battle Creek City Commissioners.
(c) Commissioner Statement of Acknowledgement
Model of Excellence
Battle Creek City Commission
As a member of the Battle Creek City Commission, I agree to uphold the Code of Ethics adopted by the City Commission and conduct myself by the following model of excellence. I will:
- Recognize the worth of individual members and appreciate their individual talents, perspectives, and contributions;
- Help create an atmosphere of respect and civility where individual members, City staff, and the public are free to express their ideas and work to their full potential;
- Respect the dignity and privacy of individuals and organizations;
- Respect and maintain the nature of confidential and privileged information and opinions acquired as a result of my position;
- Conduct my public affairs with honesty, integrity, fairness, and respect for others;
- Avoid and discourage conduct that is divisive or harmful to the best interests of Battle Creek; and
- Keep the common good as my highest purpose and focus on achieving constructive solutions for the public benefit.
I affirm that I have read and fully understand the Code of Ethics for Battle Creek City Commissioners.
Date Signature/Printed Name / Office