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TITLE II: ADMINISTRATION
2-1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
2-2. CITY COMMISSION
2-3. BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
2-5. RISK MANAGEMENT
2-6. CITY EMPLOYEES
Code of Ethics
2-1-1 Declaration of policy
2-1-2 Responsibilities of public office
2-1-3 Dedicated service
2-1-4 Fair and equal treatment
2-1-5 Conflict of interest
2-1-6 Applicability of code
2-1-7 Procedure when complaint filed
2-1-20 Purpose and scope
2-1-21 Travel expenses for officers and public employees
2-1-22 Indemnification of public officials and employees
2-1-23 Reimbursement of public officials or appointed officials for the defense of specific actions
2-1-24 Penalties for frivolous, bad faith, or malicious complaints against City Commissioners or city public officials
2-1-25 City Seal
CODE OF ETHICS
(A) The proper operation of democratic government requires that public officials and employees be independent, impartial, and responsible to the people; that governmental decisions and policies be made in the proper channels of the governmental structure; and that public office not be used for personal gain and that the public have confidence in the integrity of its government.
(B) In recognition of these goals, there is hereby established a code of ethics for all officials and employees whether elected or appointed, paid or unpaid.
(C) The purpose of this code is to establish ethical standards of conduct for all such officials and employees by setting forth those acts or actions that are incompatible with the best interests of the city and by directing disclosure by such officials and employees of private financial and other interests in matters affecting the city.
(D) The provisions and purpose of this code and such rules and regulations as may be established are hereby declared to be in the best interest of the city.
('76 Code, § 2-16)
(A) Public officials and employees are agents of public purpose and hold office for the benefit of the public. They are bound to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state and to carry out impartially the laws of the nation, state and city, and thus so foster respect for all government.
(B) They are bound to observe in their official acts the high standards of morality and to discharge faithfully the duties of their office regardless of personal consideration, recognizing that the public interest must be their primary concern. Their conduct in both their official and private affairs should be above reproach.
('76 Code, § 2-17)
Standards of conduct for public offices and employees, see F.S. § 112.311
(A) All officials and employees of the city should be loyal to the political objectives expressed by the electorate and the programs developed to attain those objectives.
(B) Appointive officials and employees should adhere to the rules of work and performance established as the standards for their position by the appropriate authority.
(C) Officials and employees should not exceed their authority or breach the law or ask others to do so, and they should work in full cooperation with other public officials and employees unless prohibited from so doing by law or by officially recognized confidentially of their work.
(D) Neither the City Manager nor any department head shall dismiss, discipline or take any adverse personnel action against any city employee for disclosing information of violations of the law on the part of a public employee that creates a substantial and specific danger to the health, safety and welfare of the public. Neither the City Manager nor any other public official shall take retaliatory action against any person who discloses information to the City Manager alleging improper use of governmental funds or any other abuse or neglect of duty on the part of any city agency, public officer, or employee.
('76 Code, § 2-18) (Am. Ord. 1599, passed 3-21-89; Am. Ord. 2707, passed 2-10-09)
(A) Interest in appointments: Canvassing of members of the City Commission directly or indirectly in order to obtain preferential consideration in connection with any appointment to the municipal service shall disqualify the candidate for appointment except with reference to positions filled by the appointment of the City Commission.
(B) Use of public property: No official or employee shall request or permit the use of city owned vehicles, equipment, materials, or property for personal convenience or profit, except when such services are available to the public generally, or are provided as municipal policy for the use of such official or employee in the conduct of official business.
(C) Obligations to citizens: No official or employee shall grant any special consideration, treatment, or advantage to any citizen beyond that which is available to every other citizen.
('76 Code, § 2-19) Penalty, see § 1-1-99
(A) No City Commissioner or other official or employee, whether paid or unpaid, shall engage in any business or transaction or shall have any financial or other personal interest, direct or indirect, which is incompatible with the proper discharge of his official duties in the public interest or would send to impair his independence of judgment or action in the performance of his official duties.
(B) Personal as distinguished from financial interests includes an interest arising from blood or marriage relationship or close business or political association. Specific conflicts of interests are enumerated below for guidance of officials and employees:
(1) Incompatible employment. No City Commissioner or other official or employee shall engage in or accept private employment or render service for private interest when such employment or service is incompatible with the proper discharge of his official duties or would tend to impair his independence of judgment or action in the performance of his official duties.
(2) Disclosure of confidential information. No City Commissioner or other official or employee shall, without proper legal authorization, disclose confidential information concerning the property, government, or affairs of the city. Nor shall he use such information to advance the financial or other private interest of himself or others.
(3) Representing private interests before city agencies or courts.
(a) No City Commissioner or other official or employee whose salary is paid in whole or in part by the city shall represent private interests in any action or proceeding against the interest of the city in any litigation to which the city is a party.
(b) A City Commissioner may appear before city agencies on behalf of constituents in the course of his duties as a representative of the electorate or in the performance of public or civic obligations. However, no City Commissioner or other official or employee shall accept a retainer or compensation that is contingent upon specific action by a city agency.
(4) Contracts with the city.
(a) Any City Commissioner or other official or employee who has a substantial or controlling financial interest in any business entity, transaction or contract with the city, or in the sale of real estate, materials, supplies or services to the city, shall make known to the proper authorities such interest in any matter on which he/she may be called to act in his official capacity.
(b) He/she shall refrain from voting upon or otherwise participating in the transaction or the making of such contract or sale. A City Commissioner or other official or employee shall not be deemed interested in any contract or purchase or sale of land or other things of value unless such contract or sale is approved, awarded, entered into or authorized by him in his official capacity.
(5) Disclosure of interest in legislation.
(a) A City Commissioner who has a financial or other private interest in any legislation shall disclose on the records of the City Commission or other appropriate authority the nature and extent of such interest. This provision shall not apply if the Commissioner disqualifies himself from voting.
(b) Any other official or employee who has a financial or other private interest, and who participates in discussions with or gives an official opinion to the City Commission, shall disclose on the records of the City Commission or other appropriate authority the nature and extent of such interest.
(6) Prohibition of bid ex parte communication. Any person who holds an ex parte communication with a member of the City Commission directly or indirectly on the subject of an authorized bid solicitation after the City Commission has taken action to solicit such bids shall be disqualified from selection of their bid and shall be further prohibited from participation either directly or indirectly in any other city projects for a period of two years.
(C) Gifts and favors. The city hereby adopts in its entirety F.S. § 112.3148, as passed by the Florida Legislature and as may be amended from time to time.
('76 Code, § 2-20) (Ord. 2179, passed 8-12--97) Penalty, see § 1-1-99
When a City Commissioner or other official or employee has doubt as to the applicability of a provision of this code to a particular situation he shall apply to the official who has appointive authority over his particular position and in the case of the City Manager or City Commissioners he shall apply to the City Attorney or to the City Commission in official meeting assembled for an advisory opinion and be guided by that opinion when given. The City Commissioner or other official or employee shall have the opportunity to present his interpretation of the facts at issue and of the applicable provisions of the code before such advisory decision is made. This code shall be operative in all instances covered by its provisions except when suspended by an applicable statutory or charter provision and statutory or charter action is mandatory.
('76 Code, § 2-21) (Ord. 2149, passed 1-14-97)
Any complaint filed alleging a violation of this chapter shall proceed as follows:
(A) Written complaint. Any complaint against a City Commissioner must be in writing under oath filed with the City Clerk and presented to the entire City Commission for their action. All complaints against a City Commissioner filed with the City Clerk after the date for qualification for office and to the date of election shall be filed with the State Ethics Commission for their action.
(B) Special prosecutor. When a complaint is prosecuted to the City Commission the remaining Commissioners not the subject of the complaint shall request the Chief Circuit Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit to appoint a special prosecutor. The special prosecutor shall investigate the allegation within 30 days of his appointment or longer if an extension is granted by the Chief Circuit Judge, but no longer than 90 days from the date of appointment.
(C) Probable cause. Upon the conclusion of the investigation the special prosecutor shall either file articles of impeachment or a nolle prosequi. If articles of impeachment are filed the special prosecutor shall sign under oath his or her good faith in instituting these articles. Said articles shall constitute probable cause to prosecute. The Commissioner or Commissioners charged shall have the right to counsel and be present at all hearings. The remaining Commissioners shall preside over the trial.
(Ord. 2149, passed 1-14-97; Am. Ord. 2179, passed 8-12-97)
Violation of any provisions of this chapter should raise conscientious questions for the City Commissioner or other official or employee concerned as to whether voluntary resignation or other action is indicated to promote the best interest of the city. Violation may constitute a cause for suspension, removal from office or employment or other disciplinary action.
('76 Code, § 2-22) (Ord. 2149, passed 1-14-97)
This subchapter establishes uniform maximum rates and limitations, policies and provisions applicable to City Commissioners, appointed board members, public employees and authorized persons whose traveling expenses are paid by the city.
('76 Code, § 2-93) (Ord. 1349, passed 1-21-86; Am. Ord. 2706, passed 12-23-08)
(A) This section establishes uniform maximum rates and limitations, policies and provisions applicable to City Commissioners, appointed Board members, public employees and authorized persons whose traveling expenses are paid by the city.
('76 Code, § 2-93)
(B) Meal rates. The city incorporates U.S. General Services Administration Per Diem Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) breakdown and any subsequent amendments to or repeal of this referenced law.
(C) Milage rates. The maximum allowance for mileage shall be the rate set by the Internal Revenue Service, as promulgated by the U.S. General Services Administration Privately Owned Vehicles (POV) Mileage Reimbursement Rate as may be amended from time to time.
('76 Code, § 2-94) (Ord. 1349, passed 1-21-86; Am. Ord. 2272, passed 5-18-99; Am. Ord. 2350, passed 8-1-00; Am. Ord. 2577, passed 11-15-05; Am. Ord. 2608, passed 9-5-06; Am. Ord. 2694, passed 8-5-08; Am. Ord. 2706, passed 12-23-08)
(A) The city shall protect and indemnify the city officials listed in division (B) hereof from personal liability to the fullest extent authorized by F.S. § 111.071 and 111.072, but only to the extent that the official is not otherwise protected and indemnified by insurance purchased by the city or otherwise provided.
(B) The officials referred to in division (A) above consist solely of all members of the City Commission, all members of city boards, the City Manager, the City Clerk, the City Attorney, the Chief of Police, the Fire Chief, the Finance Director, the Personnel Director and all city department heads.
(C) Nothing in this section shall constitute a waiver of sovereign immunity or a waiver of any other defense or immunity to such lawsuits.
(D) Nothing in this section shall create any private right of action against the city by any third party.
(Am. Ord. 2706, passed 12-23-08)
(A) This section establishes the uniform procedure to be followed by former or current City Commissioners; former or current City Board appointees and former or current city officials who seek reimbursement for costs and attorney fees incurred in the defense of an action that arose out of or in connection with performance of the official's public duty and serves a public purpose.
(B) For the purpose of this section these words or terms shall be defined as follows:
(1) ACTION OR DEFENSE OF ACTION. Any civil, criminal, ethical or city charter action.
(2) PUBLIC OFFICIAL. Former or current City Commissioner, former or current City Board appointee, or former or current city officer.
(3) REASONABLE ATTORNEY FEES. Fees earned by an attorney and/or attorneys, licensed to practice law in the State of Florida, based upon the customary rate charged in Osceola County, Florida for similar work performed by attorneys within the county.
(4) REASONABLE COSTS. Those costs that are recoverable under the current or as amended Florida Rules of Civil or Criminal Procedure.
(5) SUCCESSFULLY DEFEND OR PREVAIL. The dismissal, a finding of not guilty, or a verdict in favor of the person as to individual costs, charges, and/or allegations. A failure to successfully defend or prevail against one or more courts, charges or allegations shall not necessarily affect this policy to the other courts, charges, and/or allegations which were successfully defended.
(C) Subject to compliance with the procedures in division (D) any public official who successfully defends or prevails against any action that arises out of or in connection with the performance of their official duties and which serves a public purpose shall be entitled to reimbursement of reasonable attorney fees and costs as the City Commission in its sole discretion shall determine to be reimbursed.
(D) Any public official who is desirous of reimbursement shall file within 30 days of the conclusion of the matter a written request for such fees and costs with the City Manager or his or her designee, with a copy to the City Attorney. The request shall contain the following infrastructure:
(1) The name and current address of the person making the request;
(2) A description of the entity conducting the investigation or proceeding;
(3) The case number or file number of the investigation or proceeding, if known;
(4) A description of each count, charge and/or allegation made or being investigated;
(5) The date(s) that the alleged wrongful incidents are alleged to have occurred;
(6) The person's office or position of employment with the city on the dates described in division (D)(5) above;
(7) A narration of the reasons why such person believes that the request meets the criteria set forth in this policy and that his or her attorney fees and costs may be reimbursed by the city;
(8) The name(s), address, and telephone number of the attorney representing such person against the counts, charges, and/or allegations described in division (D)(4) above;
(9) A description of the fee arrangement or agreement between the person and his or her attorney(s); the amount of attorney fees and costs paid to the date of the written request for attorney fees and costs for defense against the counts, charges, and/or allegation described in division (D)(4) above; and the total balance due, if any, of all attorney fees and costs that have been incurred in defense against the counts, charges, and/or allegations described in division (D)(4) above;
(10) Other information as the City Commissioners and/or the City Manager or City Attorney may reasonably require.
(E) Within 45 days following receipt of the written request for payment of attorney fees and costs, the City Manager shall prepare and present an agenda item for consideration by the Commission. The Commission may (i) request additional relevant information from the applicant; (ii) continue the request to a date and time certain; or (iii) take action upon the written request and determine if the attorney fees and costs shall be reimbursed, and if so, in what amount.
(F) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary stated or implied herein, this policy does not address or pertain to recall proceedings or to employee discipline or termination proceedings. In the event such recall, discipline or termination proceedings occur concurrent with the issues and/or proceedings described above, such recall, discipline or termination proceedings shall not affect the application of this policy to the above described non-recall, non-discipline or non-termination issues or proceedings.
(Ord. 2504, passed 2-17-04)
In any case in which the City Commission finds that an individual filed an action in bad faith or it was frivolous and determines that a person has filed a complaint against a public officer or employee with a malicious intent to injure the reputation of such officer or employee by filing the complaint with knowledge that the complaint contains one or more false allegation or with reckless disregard for whether the complaint contains false allegation of fact material to a violation of any criminal, civil, ethical or charter provision, the complainant shall be liable for costs plus reasonable attorney fees incurred in the defense of the person complained against, including the costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred in providing a defense to and the amount of costs and fees. If the complainant fails to pay such costs and fees voluntarily within 30 days following such finding by the City Commission, the City Commission shall forward such information to the City Attorney or his or her designee, which shall bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction to recover the amount of such costs and fees awarded by the Commission.
(Ord. 2505, passed 2-17-04)
The City Commission shall have authority to adopt an official City Seal by resolution.
(Ord. 2633, passed 2-6-07)