19.04.010 Standards of conduct.
(1) Public Trust. The county board hereby reaffirms that each Supervisor holds his or her position as a public trust, and any effort to realize an improper personal gain through official conduct is a violation of that trust. Except as may be provided for herein, this section does not prevent any Kenosha County Board Supervisor from accepting other employment or following any pursuit which in no way interferes with the faithful discharge of his or her duties to this county. The county board further recognizes that in a representative democracy, the representatives are drawn from society and, therefore, cannot and should not be without all personal and economic interest in the decisions and policies of government; that citizens who serve as elected County Supervisors retain their rights as citizens to interests of a personal or economic nature; that standards of ethical conduct for elected County Board Supervisors need to distinguish between those minor and inconsequential conflicts that are unavoidable in a free society, and those conflicts which are substantial and material; and that elected County Board Supervisors may need to engage in employment, professional or business activities, other than their official duties, in order to support themselves or their families and to maintain a continuity of professional or business activity, or may need to maintain investments, which activities or investments do not conflict with the specific provisions of this section.
(2) Use of Public Property. No Kenosha County Board Supervisor shall request or permit the use of county services or manpower or of county-owned vehicles, equipment, materials or property for non-official purposes or personal profit unless in accordance with County policy.
(3) Obligations to Citizens. All persons shall be treated fairly and impartially and without discrimination in accordance with the federal and state constitution and laws.
(4) Special Conflicts and Standards of Conduct Enumerated. Conflicts of interest prohibited under this section and expected standards of conduct by County Board Supervisors include:
(a) Disclosure of Confidential Information. No County Board Supervisor shall, without proper legal authorization from the County Board or pursuant to a Court order or Court-approved subpoena, disclose legally confidential information as defined in this ordinance gathered in the course of his or her duties concerning the affairs of the county or of a citizen, nor shall he or she use such information to advance the financial or personal interest of himself or others. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to be a violation of this Code if the information communicated is in the public interest as determined by a test balancing the right of the public to know versus the right of individual or governmental privacy, not the subject of pending litigation and relates to a violation of law, mismanagement of County funds, or neglect of duty.
(b) Reserved for future use.
(c) Representing Private Interests Before County Agencies or Courts. No County Board Supervisor shall represent as a paid advocate any private interests adverse to Kenosha County, other than for himself, his spouse or his children, before any county agency or department; nor, except as hereinafter provided, shall any County Board Supervisor who is admitted to practice law in the State of Wisconsin represent as an advocate any private interests other than for himself, his spouse or children, in any proceeding adverse to the county in any county court without prior County authorization. County Board Supervisors who are licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin may, however, act as a criminal or ordinance defense or Juvenile Court counsel and as a Guardian ad Litem only in conformity with State law and the Rules and Regulations of the State Bar of Wisconsin.
(d) Gifts, Favors, Raffles and Door Prizes. No person or organization may offer or give to a County Board Supervisor, directly or indirectly, and no County Board Supervisors may solicit or accept from any person or organization, directly or indirectly, anything of value as herein defined if it could reasonably be expected to influence such County Board Supervisor’s official actions or judgment, or could reasonably be considered as a reward for any official action or inaction on the part of such County Board Supervisor. This provision does not apply to monetary donations to Kenosha County which are accepted by the County Board or donations to Brookside Care Center or its “Sunshine Fund” which are accepted by either the County Board or the Brookside Trustees.
County Board Supervisors attending an event at the expense of the County must reimburse the County the value of any raffle or door prize obtained at that particular event unless its value is diminimus or unless it is donated to or used solely for County purposes.
(e) Insider Advantage. No County Board Supervisor may intentionally use or disclose information gained in the course of or by reason of his or her official position or activities in any way that could result in the receipt of anything of value for himself or herself, for his or her immediate family, or for any other person or organization, if the information has not been communicated to the public or is not public information.
(f) Reserved for Future Use
(g) Contracting (Personal Gain). Except as otherwise provided by section 946.13 of the Wisconsin Statutes, no County Board Supervisor shall, in his private capacity, negotiate or bid for or enter into a contract in which he or she has a private pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, if at the time he or she is authorized or required by law to participate in his or her capacity as such County Board Supervisor in the making of that contract or to perform in regard to that contract some official function requiring the exercise of discretion on his or her part, nor shall any County Board Supervisor, in his or her official capacity, participate in the making of a contract in which he or she has a private pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, or perform in regard to that contract some function requiring the exercise of discretion on his or her part. A violation of section 946.13 of the Wisconsin Statutes, shall also constitute a violation of this code.
A County official or employee or a member of the official’s or employee’s immediate family, as defined in this ordinance, may not contract with the County.
The employer of a County Board Supervisor may contract with the County only if the County Board Supervisor abstains from voting and attests in writing that he or she will receive no direct or indirect benefit from such contract and further attests that he or she has had no discussions with any county official or employee with respect to such contract and has made no direct or indirect attempt to influence the awarding of such contract.
(h) Consulting. No County Board Supervisor is to serve as a consultant to or, except as hereinafter provided, serve as a member of the Board of Directors of any entity or corporation doing business either as a contractor or sub-contractor or otherwise with, or seeking to do business with, Kenosha County, subject to exemptions in the Wisconsin State Statutes. This provision shall not apply to County Board Supervisors serving on a Board of Directors where such service as a County Board Supervisor has been required and approved by the County Executive or County Board or in cases where the Corporation Counsel’s Office has reviewed such membership and found no conflict of interest.
(i) Business Associates and Clientele. No County Board Supervisor shall render service to, engage in debate, lobby for, make any decision concerning or involving any, as defined herein, former, present or known future business associate or client or customer of such Supervisor or other member(s) of the Supervisor’s firm or his or its associates or partners who may have a matter pending before the County Board. Where such relationship and circumstances exist, the supervisor shall abstain from participation in any decision making process and file a financial disclosure statement or an amended statement as required by this code and reveal the nature and extent of the relationship. This provision, however, shall not be applied in the case of a legally recognized privilege, such as in the case of an attorney-client or doctor-patient relationship. [see Sec. 19.04-1(4)(g)] (5/1/12)
(j) Issuance of Permits. No County Board Supervisor empowered to vote upon issuance of a discretionary permit under either state or local laws or regulations shall vote on the issuance of any such permit to himself or herself or to any member of that individual’s immediate family.
(k) Material Conflict of Interest. No County Board Supervisor shall engage in any material conflict of interest as defined in section 19.06-1(3).
(l) Personal Services. No County official or employee shall be required to perform any private work or private or personal service for any County Board Supervisor or make a contribution to any such County Board Supervisor. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to bar voluntary campaign contributions to a County Board Supervisor.
(m) Falsifying Claims or Records. No County Board Supervisor shall intentionally engage in submitting any falsified claim and knowingly false document.
(n) Misuse or Misappropriation of County Property or Funds. No County Board Supervisor shall misuse or misappropriate any county funds or property including, but not limited to, the use of County copiers, computers, or cell or land-based phones for personal use on County time. The County maintains the right to access, monitor and review the use of such equipment and recognizes no claim of confidentiality regarding the use of such County equipment. No County property, facility or personnel on County time may be used to repair or maintain a County Board Supervisor’s personal property.
(o) Notification of Conflicts. County Board Supervisor shall disclose to the County Corporation Counsel any conflict of interest involving another county employee or official.
(p) Reserved for future use.
(q) State Standards of Conduct for Municipal Employees. Those standards incorporated in Wisconsin Statutes § 19.59 for municipal officials and employees are incorporated herein by reference as if fully set forth. In case of a conflict between the State standards and this Code, the more restrictive standard shall apply. [Code § 19.04-1, 2018.]