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Tue, 2006-11-28 15:55
This is the place to discuss recusal, that is, withdrawal from participation when there appears to be a conflict of interest. Also see Transactional Disclosure, in the "Disclosure" section, where this issue will also be discussed.
- An official or employee* must refrain from acting on or discussing, formally or informally, a matter before the city, if acting on the matter, or failing to act on the matter, may personally* or financially benefit* any of the persons or entities listed in subsection 1 of this section. Such an official or employee should join the public if the recusal occurs at a public meeting, or leave the room if it is not a public meeting.
- An official or employee must refrain from acting or discussing, formally or informally, a matter involving a person who appointed or recommended him or her for that position, if he or she is aware of such appointment or recommendation.
If a board or agency member is requested to recuse himself or herself with respect to a matter, for the reason that he or she has a conflict of interest, by
- another member,
- a party to the current matter, or
- anyone else who may be affected by a decision relating to this matter, the member must decide whether to recuse himself or herself.
If the member decides not to recuse himself or herself, the unchallenged members must consider any relevant evidence concerning such claimed conflict of interest, as defined in this code, and vote whether or not to allow the request and require that the member refrain from participating in the matter.
- Rule of Necessity: If recusal would leave a board with less than a quorum capable of acting, or if the official or employee* is the only person authorized by law to act, the official or employee* must disclose the nature and circumstances of the conflict to the Ethics Commission and ask for an advisory opinion pursuant to 104 and 209.
Comment: "Acting on and discussing, formally or informally" means that the official should withdraw from any involvement with the matter, including conversations, appearances at meetings or portions of meetings concerned with the matter, and voting on the matter, except, of course, in a public referendum.
Sometimes inaction benefits an official or his or her close associates - for example, when a code enforcement official fails to cite her brother for a zoning violation. That is why this subsection prohibits an official's inaction, as well as action, in certain circumstances. In such an instance, the enforcement official should ask someone else to handle the matter.
See 101 for provisions concerned with the disclosure of a conflict pursuant to this subsection. Because disclosure in this sort of situation occurs at the time a conflict becomes immediately relevant to an action or transaction to be taken by an official or employee, this is referred to as "transactional disclosure."