Code Of Ethics
- Act in the Public Interest – Recognizing that stewardship of the public interest must be their primary concern, the mayor, council and advisory board members shall work for the common good of the people of the Town of Hickory Creek and not for any private or personal interest. The council, mayor and advisory board members must endeavor to treat all members of the public and issues before them in a fair and equitable manner.
- Comply with the Law – The mayor, council and advisory board members shall comply with the laws of the nation, the State of Texas and the Town in the performance of their public duties. These laws include, but are not limited to: the United States and Texas constitutions; Texas civil statutes; Texas penal laws; and the Town Ordinances and policies.
Elected officials and appointed officials, advisory boards and commissions must adhere to the following Texas statutes:Civil Statutes – Open Meetings Act (Tex. Gov’t. Code, Ann. Ch. 551) Public Information Act/Open Records Act (Tex. Gov’t Code. Ann. Ch. 552) Conflicts of Interest (Tex. Loc. Gov’t Code, Ch. 171) Official Misconduct (Tex. Penal Code, Ch. 36, Ch. 39) Nepotism (Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann., arts. 5996a & 5996b) Whistleblower Protection (Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann., art. 6552-16a) Competitive Bidding and Procurement (Tex Loc. Gov’t. Code, Ch 252)
State Penal Laws – Bribery (Tex. Penal Code, 36.02) Coercion of Public Servant or Voter (Tex. Penal Code, §36.03) Improper Influence (Tex. Penal Code §36.04) Tampering with a Witness (Tex. Penal Code §36.05) Retaliation (Tex. Penal Code §36.06) Gifts to Public Officials (Tex. Penal Code §36.08) Offering Gift to Public Servant (Tex. Penal Code §36.09) Abuse of Office (Tex. Penal Code, Chapter 39) Official Misconduct (Tex. Penal Code §36.02) Official Oppression (Tex. Penal Code §39.03) Misuse of Official Information (Tex. Penal Code §39.06)
- Conduct of Members – The mayor, council and advisory board members shall refrain from abusive conduct, personal charges or verbal attacks upon the character or motives of other members of the city council, boards, commissions, committees, staff or the public.
- Respect for Process - The mayor, council and advisory board members duties shall be performed in accordance with the processes and rules of order established by the city council.
- Conduct of Public Meetings – The mayor, council and advisory board members shall inform themselves on public issues, listen attentively to public discussions before the body and focus on the business at hand.
- Decisions Based on Merit – Council and advisory board decisions shall be based upon the merits and substance of the matter at hand.
- Communication – It is the responsibility of the mayor, council and advisory board members to publicly share substantive information that is relevant to a matter under consideration that they have received from sources outside of the public decision-making process with all other council and advisory board members and the public prior to taking action on the matter.
- Conflict of Interest – In order to assure their independence and impartiality on behalf of the public good, the mayor, council and advisory board members are prohibited from using their official positions to influence government decisions in which they have a financial interest or where they have an organizational responsibility or a personal relationship that would represent or imply a conflict of interest under applicable state law.
- Grants and Favors – The mayor, council and advisory board members shall not take advantage of services or opportunities for personal gain by virtue of their public office that are not available to the public in general. They should avoid any action that could be construed as, or create the appearance of, using public office for personal gain.
- Public Resources – Public resources not available to the general public (e.g.. city staff time, equipment, supplies or facilities) shall not be used by the mayor, council or advisory board members for private gain or personal purposes.
- Appearance of Impropriety – When participation in action or decision-making as a public official does not implicate the specific statutory criteria for conflicts of interest; however, participation still does not “look” or “feel” right, that public official has probably encountered the appearance of impropriety. For the public to have faith and confidence that government authority will be implemented in an even-handed and ethical manner, public officials may need to step aside even though no technical conflict exists. An example is where a long-term non-financial affiliation exists between the public official and an applicant or the applicant is related by blood or marriage to the official. For the good of the community, members who encounter the appearance of impropriety should step aside.
- Financial Interest in Town Contracts Prohibited – The mayor, council and advisory board members may not receive financial benefit or other compensation as a result of any contracts or agreements negotiated between the Town and a perspective vendor or contractor.
- Compliance and Enforcement – The mayor and council themselves have the primary responsibility to assure that ethical standards are understood and met and that the public can continue to have full confidence in the integrity of the Town’s government. Anyone in violation of the ethics policy is subject to be removed from the board. All board members have ninety (90) days to take the open meetings act on-line course from the Texas Attorney Generals office.