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The Council shall adopt by law a code of ethics applicable to all public employees. In this section, public employee includes each County employee, elected officer, and appointed officer, including a member of a board or commission, and any other person designated by law.
The code of ethics shall at a minimum regulate: (a) conflicts of interest; (b) solicitation and receipt of gifts; (c) other employment of present and former public employees; (d) lobbying; (e) financial disclosure by public employees; (f) the use of County property and County insignia; and (g) the use of the prestige of office.
The code of ethics shall:
a) provide that each public employee owes a fiduciary responsibility to the County, which the public employee shall not breach by any public or private action;
b) prohibit a public employee from obtaining an economic benefit as a result of public employment if the economic benefit is received on terms more favorable than those available to persons who are not public employees;
c) allow waivers from restrictions and requirements of the code if a waiver is in the best interest of the County and all pertinent facts are disclosed to the public;
d) authorize enforcement of the code and impose penalties for violations; and
e) include any other provisions required by State law or that the Council finds serve the purposes of this section.
The Council by law shall prohibit corrupt practices by any individual or organization that attempts to obtain or is a party to a contract with the County, including kickbacks in the award of County contracts and using confidential information obtained in performing a contract with the County for personal gain or the gain of another without the approval of the County.
The Council may by law establish a commission to enforce and interpret the code of ethics and related law. The Council by law may allow an ethics commission to retain legal counsel with the approval of the Council, subject to appropriation, and may exempt legal counsel for the commission from Section 213. (Election of 11-2-82; election of 11-5-96.)
Editor’s note—See County Attorney Opinion dated 8/23/02 describing the elements required for a complaint to the Ethics Commission to initiate an investigation. See County Attorney Opinion dated 9/8/98 explaining that County law limiting contractors from seeking or obtaining an economic benefit in addition to payment does not extend to sub-contractors unless the Office of Procurement requires its contractors to extend the prohibition to sub-contractors.