Public Finance Authority

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Ethics Policy

1.01 Adoption

The Public Finance Authority (“Authority”) enacts this ethics policy pursuant to the Amended and Restated Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement dated September 28, 2010. 

1.02 Declaration of Purpose And Policy

The purpose of this ethics policy is to establish ethical standards of conduct for all Authority officials and employees by identifying those actions that are not compatible with the best interests of the Authority. The Authority Board of Directors believes that a code of ethics for the guidance of Authority officials and employees in serving the Authority will help officials and employees avoid conflicts between personal interests and public responsibilities and will improve standards of public service.  To this end, the policy of the Authority is that:  

A. Officials and employees are independent, impartial and responsible to the people;

B. Government decisions and policy are promulgated in the bests interests of the people, community and government; 

C. Authority office or employment should not be used for personal gain or political advantage; and 

D. Authority business is conducted so as to reinforce the public’s confidence in the integrity of the Authority. 

1.03 Definitions.

A. Anything of Value includes any money, property, favor, service, subscription, payment, advance, forbearance, loan or promise of future employment.  “Anything of Value” does not include door prizes, compensation and expenses paid by the Authority, fees and expenses which are permitted by Wisconsin Statutes, political contributions which are reported under Chapter 11 of the Wisconsin Statutes, or hospitality extended for a purpose unrelated to Authority business. 

B. Anything of Insignificant Value includes unsolicited advertising or promotional materials such as pens, pencils, notepads, calendars, informational or educational materials of insignificant value, plaques, other advertising giveaways or any other thing which is not likely to influence the judgment of individuals covered by this Policy.  

C. Associated when used in reference to an organization, includes any organization in which an individual or a member of his/her immediate family is a director, officer, or trustee, or who has a significant fiduciary relationship or an individual who owns or controls, directly or indirectly, and severally or in the aggregate, at least ten (10) percent of the outstanding equity.  

D. Confidential Information means written material or oral information related to the Authority that is not otherwise subject to the open records law and that is designated by statute, court decision, lawful order, ordinances, resolutions or custom as confidential.  

E. Contract means all agreements executed between the Authority and another party or parties, for the provision of goods, materials, supplies, construction or services in exchange for valuable and sufficient consideration. 

F. Employee means any person employed by the Authority in any capacity, full-time or part-time, and not otherwise included in the definition of Official.  

G. Financial Interest means any interest which yields, directly or indirectly, a monetary or other material benefit to the Official or Employee, to the Official or Employee’s immediate family, or to any person employing or retaining services of the Official or Employee.

H. Immediate Family means an Official’s or Employee’s spouse, children, stepchildren, parents, siblings, grandparents and stepparents.  Immediate Family also means any other legal relation who contributes more than one-half (1/2) support to the Official or employee, or receives that level of support from the Official or employee, or lives in the Official’s or Employee’s residence.

I. Official includes all members of the Authority’s policymaking Boards and Committees.  

J. Organization means any stock or non-stock corporation, partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, incorporated or unincorporated association, trust or other legal entity other than an individual or body politic.  

K. Personal Interest means any interest arising from blood or marriage relationships or from close business or political associations, whether or not any financial interest is involved.  

L. Significant Fiduciary Relationship means owning or controlling, directly or indirectly:  (a) at least ten (10) percent of the outstanding stock or stock of any business corporation having a cost or market value of at least five thousand dollars ($5,000); or (b) an interest of at least ten (10) percent or five thousand dollars ($5,000) of any organization. 

1.04 Responsibility of Public Office.  

Officials and Employees hold their positions for the benefit of the public.  They are bound to uphold the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin, and to carry out efficiently and impartially all laws of the United States, the State of Wisconsin as well as all resolutions and policies of the Authority.  They are further bound to observe in their official acts the highest standards of morality and to discharge faithfully the duties of their office regardless of personal considerations.  The public interest must be their primary concern.

1.05 Fair and Equal Treatment.  

An Official or Employee shall not grant any special consideration, treatment or advantage to any citizen beyond that which is available to every other citizen.  

1.06 Conflicts of Interest.

A. Financial and Personal Interest Prohibited.  No Official or Employee shall engage in any business or transaction or shall act in regard to financial or personal interest, direct or indirect, which:  (1) is incompatible with the discharge of his or her duties; (2) would tend to impair their independence of judgment or action in the performance of their official duties; or (3) is contrary to the provisions of this ethics policy.  

B. No Financial Gain or Anything of Value.  Except as otherwise provided or approved by the Authority Board, no Official or Employee shall use his/her public position or office to obtain financial gain or anything of value for the private benefit of himself/herself or his/her immediate family, or for an organization with which he/she is associated.  

C. Incompatible Employment.  An Official or Employee shall not engage in or accept any private employment or render any service for a private interest when such employment or service is incompatible with the proper discharge of their official duties or which may impair their independence of judgment or action in the performance of their official duties unless as otherwise permitted by law.  Any authorized outside employment must not conflict with the Official’s or Employee’s ability to do their job with the Authority and must not otherwise violate any provision of this ethics policy. 

D. Use or Disclosure of Confidential Information.  An Official or Employee shall not, without lawful authority, knowingly disclose or permit the disclosure of confidential information to any person not lawfully authorized to receive such confidential information, or use confidential information to advance their personal financial interest or the financial interest of any other person or organization.  

E. Nepotism.  An Official or Employee shall not hire, promote or advocate for the hiring or promotion of any member of his or her immediate family.  

F. Contracts.  No Official or Employee shall, in a private capacity, negotiate, bid for, enter into, make or perform a contract in which the Official, Employee, immediate family member of the Official or Employee, or any business or organization with which an Official, Employee or immediate family member is associated, has a direct or indirect financial interest, if the Official or Employee is authorized or required by law to participate in the Official’s or Employee’s capacity as such Officer or Employee in the making of that contract or to perform in regard to that contract some official function requiring the exercise of discretion on the Officer’s or Employee’s part.  If the Official or Employee will not be involved with the contract in an official capacity, the contract may be allowed only if awarded through a process of public notice and competitive bidding in conformity with all applicable laws. 

G. Financial Interest in Board Action.  A member of the Authority Board who has a financial interest in any proposed action before the Authority Board, or whose immediate family member has a financial interest in any proposed action before the Authority Board, shall fully disclose the nature and extent of such interest to the Authority Board Chair prior to the initial discussion of such action and shall refrain from participating in the discussion of, and voting on, such action.  A member of the Authority Board shall request to be excused by the Board or Committee Chair for the duration of any deliberations concerning such action in which the member has a financial interest.  Any other Official or Employee who has a financial interest in any proposed action before the Authority Board, and who participates in discussion with or gives an official opinion or recommendation to the Authority Board, shall first fully disclose the nature and extent of such interest to the Authority Board.

H. Business Interest.  An Official or Employee shall not engage in any business, transaction or act in regard to any financial interest, direct or indirect, which:

1. Is incompatible with the proper discharge of their official duties for the benefit of the public;

2. Is contrary to the provisions of this Policy; or

3. May impair their independence of judgment or action in the performance of their official duties.

I. Unfair Persuasion.  No Official or Employee may use or attempt to use his or her position to influence or gain unlawful benefits, advantages or privileges for himself or herself or others.  

Adopted June 19, 2014