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(1) Public Trust. The county board hereby reaffirms that a county public official or employee 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 county public employee or official 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 county public officials employees retain their rights as citizens to interests of a personal or economic nature; that standards of ethical conduct for county public officials and employees 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 county public officials and employees may need to engage in employment, professional or business activities, other than 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 official or employee 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 authorized or 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. In exercising a ministerial duty, no official or employee shall grant any special consideration, treatment, or advantage for themselves or any citizen beyond that which is available to every other citizen. Nor shall any official or employee hinder or obstruct the efforts of any citizen to acquire or exercise rights duly afforded him or her.

(4) Special Conflicts and Standards of Conduct Enumerated. Conflicts of interest prohibited under this section and expected standards of conduct by county employees and officials include:

(a) Incompatible Employment. No official or employee shall engage in or accept private employment or render services for compensation for a private interest when such employment or service is consistently incompatible with the proper discharge of official duties or would impair the independence or judgment or action in the performance of official duties or would lessen the time to perform such duties. Disclosure of all outside employment must be made to an immediate supervisor regarding the nature and extent of the outside employment prior to accepting such employment. Where employment is not consistently or inherently incompatible, the employee must avoid all county involvement in any matter where a conflict or appearance of a conflict or impropriety may arise.

(b) 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.

(c) Representing Private Interests Before County Agencies or Courts. No official or employee shall represent as an advocate any private interests, other than himself, his spouse or his children, before any county agency or department; nor shall, except as hereinafter provided, any official or employee who is admitted to practice law in the State of Wisconsin represent as an advocate any private interests other than himself, his spouse or children, in any proceeding adverse to the county in any county court without prior County authorization.

(d) Gifts, Favors, Raffles and Door Prizes. No person or organization may offer or give to a county public official or employee, directly or indirectly, and no county public official or employee 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 public official’s or employee’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 public official or employee. Non-monetary gratuities, such as but not limited to food or flowers given by members of the public at holidays or on special occasions may not exceed $25 in total value annually [or as this amount may be amended from time to time by the Internal Revenue Service] and may be accepted only when made available to an entire department and not an individual official or employee. 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.

Officials and employees 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 public official or employee 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 official or employee shall, in his private capacity, negotiate or bid for or enter into a contract in which he has a private pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, if at the time he is authorized or required by law to participate in his 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 his part, nor shall any official or employee, in his official capacity, participate in the making of a contract in which he has a private pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, or perform in regard to that contract some function requiring the exercise of discretion on his 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.

(h) Consulting. Except as otherwise may be expected as part of an official’s or employee’s job description and in the normal course of employment by Kenosha County, no official or employee 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 officials or employees serving on a Board of Directors where such service 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 official or employee shall render service to or make any decision concerning or involving any former, present or known future business associate or client without first revealing in writing to his or her immediate superior the nature and the 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.

(j) Issuance of Permits. No county official or employee empowered to issue a discretionary permit under either the state or local laws or regulations shall issue any such permit to himself or herself or to any member of that individual’s immediate family without first revealing in writing the request for such permit to that individual’s immediate superior who shall then assign another official or employee to process such permit.

(k) Material Conflict of Interest. No county employee shall engage in any material conflict of interest as defined in section 20.06-1(3).

(l) Personal Services. No employee shall be required to perform any private work or private or personal service for any other county employee or official or make a contribution to any other such employee or official of Kenosha County.

(m) Falsifying Claims or Records. No county employee or official shall intentionally engage in submitting any falsified claim including time cards or in preparing or presenting any false information or record or misrepresentation, either oral or written, in the course of any work falling within the scope of their employment. Time cards for non-represented or exempt employees, however, shall be submitted in compliance with Federal FLSA guidelines.

(n) Misuse or Misappropriation of County Property or Funds. No county official or employee 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 an official’s or employee’s personal property.

(o) Notification of Conflicts. No county official or employee shall willfully fail to disclose to his or her immediate superior any conflict of interest involving another county employee or official.

(p) Nepotism. No county official or employee shall be the direct supervisor of any relative or in-law relative or member of the official’s or employee’s immediate family as defined herein. Where a supervisory relationship is created while two such related officials or employees are employed in the same department or division, the County shall make every effort to transfer one of the officials or employees as soon as practical. In cases of a conflict with Kenosha’s Fair Hiring Policy, this ordinance shall apply.

(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 § 20.04-1, 2018.]