HALF HOLLOW HILLS COMMUNITY LIBRARY LIBRARY
CODE OF ETHICS AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY
The Library Board of Trustees recognizes that sound, ethical standards of conduct serve to increase effectiveness of the Library Board of Trustees, Library staff and volunteers. Actions based on an ethical code of conduct promote public confidence and the attainment of Library goals. The Board also recognizes its obligation, under the provisions of the New York General Municipal Law, to adopt a code of ethics setting forth the standards of conduct required of all Library officers and employees.
The Library Board of Trustees is also committed to avoiding any situation in which the existence of simultaneous, conflicting interests of any Library officer or employee may call into question the integrity of the management or operation of the Library. The Board affirms its commitment to adhere scrupulously to all applicable provisions of law regarding material conflicts of interest.
1. Gifts. No officer or employee shall directly or indirectly solicit, accept, or receive any money or gift having a value of $75 or more, whether in the form of cash, check, loan, credit, services, travel, entertainment, hospitality, thing or promise, or any other form, under circumstances in which it could reasonably be inferred that the money or gift was intended to influence him or her in the performance of his or her official duties or was intended as a reward for any official action on his or her part. However, the Board welcomes and encourages the writing of letters or notes expressing gratitude or appreciation to staff members.
2. Confidential Information: No officer or employee shall disclose confidential information acquired by him or her in the course of his or her official duties or use such information to further his or her personal interest. In addition, he or she shall not disclose information regarding any matters discussed in an executive session of the Board of Trustees regardless of whether or not such information is deemed confidential.
3. Representation Before the Board: An officer or employee shall not receive or enter into any agreement, express or implied, for compensation for services to be rendered in relation to any matter before the Library Board of Trustees.
4. Representation Before the Board for a Contingent Fee: An officer or employee shall not receive or enter into any agreement, express or implied, for compensation for services to be rendered in relation to any matter before the Library Board, whereby the compensation is to be dependent or contingent upon any action by the Board with respect to such matter, provided that this paragraph shall not prohibit the fixing at any time of fees based upon the reasonable value of the services rendered.
5. Disclosure of Interest in Matters Before the Board: A member of the Board of Trustees and any officer or employee of the Library, whether paid or unpaid, who participates in the discussion or gives official opinion to the Board on any matter before the Board shall publicly disclose on the official record the nature and extent of any direct or indirect financial or other private interest he or she has in such matter. The term “interest” means a pecuniary or material benefit accruing to an officer or employee.
6. Disclosure of Interests in Contracts and Related Party Transactions. To the extent known, any officer or employee of the Library who has, or will have, or subsequently acquires any interest in any contract or transaction with the Library shall publicly disclose the nature and extent of such interest in writing to the Library Director and the Library Board of Trustees as soon as he or she has knowledge of such actual or prospective interest. The Library shall not enter into any related party transaction unless the transaction is determined by the Board of Trustees, in a manner consistent with this policy, to be fair, reasonable and in the Library’s best interest. Prior to entering any related party transaction, the Board of Trustees shall consider alternative transactions to the extent available, approve the transaction by not less than a majority vote of the Board and document, in writing, the basis for the Board’s approval, including its consideration of any alternative transactions. All such transactions shall be documented in the manner set forth in Paragraph Seventeen (17) herein.
7. Annual Disclosure of Conflicts. In addition to the requirements of Paragraph Five (5) and Six (6), each Library Trustee and employee shall annually sign a statement which affirms that they received a copy of this Ethics and Conflict of Interest Policy, which shall also include the disclosure of any potential conflict of interest (the “Annual Statement of Compliance,” annexed hereto as Addendum “A”). All such Statements shall be remitted to the Board President.
8. Investments in Conflict with Official Duties: No officer or employee of the Library shall invest or hold any investment directly or indirectly in any financial, business, commercial or other private transaction that creates a conflict with his or her official duties.
9. Certain Real Property Interests Prohibited: No officer or employee of the Library who has an interest in any real property, either individually or as an officer or employee of a corporation or partnership, shall participate in the acquisition or plan for acquisition of said property or any property adjacent to said property by the Library. The term “participate” shall include the promotion of the site as well as the negotiation of the terms of the acquisition.
10. Prohibited Conflicts of Interests: No Library officer or employee shall have an interest in any contract between the Library and a corporation or partnership of which he or she is an officer or employee when such Library officer or employee has the power to negotiate, prepare, authorize or approve the contract or authorize or approve payment thereunder, audit bills or claims under the contract, or appoint an officer or employee who has any of the powers or duties set forth above, and no chief fiscal officer, treasurer or his or her deputy or employee shall have an interest in a bank or trust company designated as a depository paying agent, registration agent or for investment of Library funds of which he or she is an officer or employee. The prohibition of this action shall in no event be construed to preclude the payment of lawful compensation and necessary expenses of any Library officer or employee in one or more positions of public employment, the holding of which is not prohibited by law.
11. Certain Prohibited Actions: No person employed by the Library shall hire, supervise, evaluate, promote, review or discipline any other employee who is a member of the same family. In the event that marriage, promotion, or reorganization results in a situation not in compliance with this policy, reassignment or transfer will be effected in accordance with the applicable provisions of any collective bargaining agreement to correct the situation.
12. Private Employment: No officer or employee of the Library shall engaged in, solicit, negotiate for or promise to accept private employment or render services for private interests when such employment or service creates a conflict with or impairs the proper discharge of his or her official duties. Nor shall, for a period of two (2) years following the separation of service or employment with the Library, shall any officer or employee of the Library seek to enter into a contractual relationship with the Library, on behalf of a private entity.
13. Use of Library Property: No Library officer or employee shall use or permit the use of property, owned or leased to the Library, for anything other than official purposes or for activities not otherwise officially approved by the Library Board of Trustees.
14. Duty to Disqualify: It is incumbent upon any Library officer or employee, whether paid or unpaid, to disqualify himself or herself immediately whenever the appearance of a conflict of interest exists. Any individual with a conflict of interest may not be present at, participate in or otherwise influence Board deliberations or votes on the matter giving rise to the conflict. The Board may request that the party with the conflict present information concerning a related party transaction prior to the commencement of deliberations or voting.
15. Duty to Report Conflicts of Interest: In the event that any Library officer or employee knows of or perceives a direct or indirect conflict of interest, he or she shall report it to the Library Board of Trustees. Noninterested members of the Board shall deliberate on the conflict of interest in accordance with the terms of this Policy. Any resolution of such conflict by the Board shall hold the Library’s interest paramount, as well as maintain the Board’s integrity in its governing role.
16. Duty to Report Violations of this Policy: Any Library officer or employee or any member of the public noting or suspecting a violation of this policy is encouraged to report the matter, either in confidence or in public, to the Library Board of Trustees.
17. Documentation: The existence and resolution of all conflicts shall be documented in the Library’s records, and in the minutes of any board meeting at which the conflict was discussed or voted upon.