Town Board Code of Ethics
The Code of Ethics for the Town Board of Commissioners was adopted on October 4, 2010.
Code of ethics for the Town Board of Commissioners Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina
WHEREAS, the Constitution of North Carolina, Article I, Section 35, reminds us that a "frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty"; and,
WHEREAS, a spirit of honesty and forthrightness is reflected in North Carolina's state motto, Esse quam videri, "To be rather than to seem"; and,
WHEREAS, Section 160A-86 of the North Carolina General Statutes requires local governing boards to adopt a code of ethics; and,
WHEREAS, as elected local government officials we are charged with upholding the trust of the citizens of the Town of Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina and with obeying relevant laws.
Now therefore, be it resolved in recognition of our blessings and obligations as citizens of the State of North Carolina and as public officials representing the citizens of the Town of Fuquay-Varina, and acting pursuant to the requirements of Section 160A-86 of the North Carolina General Statues, we the Town Board of Fuquay-Varina do hereby adopt the following General Principles and Code of Ethics to guide the Fuquay-Varina Town Board in its lawful decision-making.
General Principles Underlying the Code of Ethics
The stability and proper operation of democratic representative government depend upon public confidence in the integrity of the government and upon responsible exercise of the trust conferred by the people upon their elected officials.
Governmental decisions and policy must be made and implemented through proper channels and processes of the governmental structure.
Board members must be able to act in a manner that maintains their integrity and independence, yet is responsive to the interests and needs of those they represent.
Board members must always remain aware that at various times they play different roles:
As advocates, who strive to advance the legitimate needs of their citizens;
As legislators, who balance the public interest and private rights in considering and enacting ordinances, orders, and resolutions; and
As decision-makers, who arrive at fair and impartial quasi-judicial, legislative or administrative determinations.
Board members must know how to distinguish among these roles, to determine when each role is appropriate, and to act accordingly.
Board members must be aware of their obligation to conform their behavior to standards of ethical conduct that warrant the trust of their constituents. Each official must find within his or her own conscience the touchstone by which to determine what conduct is appropriate.
Code of Ethics
The purpose of this Code of Ethics is to establish guidelines for ethical standards of conduct for the Fuquay-Varina Board of Commissioners and to help determine what conduct is appropriate in particular cases. It should not be considered a substitute for the law or for a board member's best judgment.
Section 1. Board members should obey all laws applicable to their official actions as members of the board. Board members should be guided by the spirit as well as the letter of the law in whatever they do.
At the same time, board members should feel free to assert policy positions and opinions without fear or reprisal from fellow board members or citizens.
Section 2. Board members should act with integrity and independence from improper influences as they exercise the duties of their offices.
Section 3.a. Board members should avoid impropriety in the exercise of their official duties; and, their official actions should be above reproach - being mindful of the perception of a reasonable person who is aware of all relevant facts and circumstances surrounding board action.
Section 3.b. If a Board member believes that his or her actions may be misunderstood, the member should seek appropriate advice and consider disclosing facts to alleviate a possible misunderstanding.
Section 4. Board members should faithfully perform the duties of their offices while maintaining trust and respect of the community.
Board members should faithfully attend and prepare for meetings. They should carefully analyze all credible information properly submitted to them, mindful of the need not to engage in communications outside the meeting in quasi-judicial matters. They should demand full accountability from those over whom the board has authority.
Board members should be willing to bear their fair share of the board's workload. To the extent appropriate, they should be willing to put the board's interests ahead of their own.
Section 5. Board members should conduct the public's business in an open and public manner, complying with applicable laws governing open meetings and public records.
The law recognizes the need for and permits closed sessions. The Board should take steps to make certain that closed sessions are held as prescribed by law.