CODE OF ETHICS OF THE HILLCREST VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT
ADOPTED BY DEPARTMENT VOTE ON 03/13/2008 (REVISED 2012)
Code of Ethics of the Halfmoon Hillcrest Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
SECTION 1 PURPOSE
Officers and members of the Halfmoon Hillcrest Fire Department, Inc. hold their positions to serve and benefit the public, and not for obtaining unwarranted personal or private gain in the exercise and/or performance of their official powers and duties. The membership recognizes that, in furtherance of this fundamental principle, there is a need for clear and reasonable standards of ethical conduct. This Code of Ethics establishes those standards for the Halfmoon Hillcrest Vol. Fire Department, Inc.
SECTION 2 DEFINITIONS
As used in this document, the following terms shall have the indicated meanings:
Confidential Information: Any information which by law or practice is not available to the general public.
Conflict of Interest: When an officer or member of the fire department uses his official office, title, or position for the purpose of obtaining a pecuniary benefit, gift, and/or other benefit for himself/herself or a family member, to the detriment of the interests of the fire district, department, or the public, and/or impairs the proper discharge of official duties.
Contract: Any claim, account, bill, or demand against, or agreement with the fire district or department, either expressed or implied.
Family member: A parent, sibling, spouse, child, uncle, aunt, first cousin, or household member.
Fire district: The Halfmoon Fire District #1.
Interest: A participation in, connection with, or involvement of any sort whether direct or indirect, financial, pecuniary or non-pecuniary which may result in a benefit. This does not include any benefit arising from the provision of fire protection or other emergency services generally available to the residents of the Halfmoon Fire District #1. A person is deemed to have an interest in the contracts of any firm, partnership, or corporation of which he or she is an owner, partner, director, officer, employee, or stockholder.
Member of the fire department or Fire department member: A volunteer member or officer of the Halfmoon Hillcrest Fire Department, Inc.
The official powers and duties of a fire department member refer to the individual’s powers and duties under the laws, under rules or regulations adopted by the board of fire commissioners, or under policies or procedures of the board of fire commissioners or the chief or president of the fire department.
Officer: A person serving as a paid or volunteer officer of the fire department including firematic and administrative officers of the fire department.
Transaction: Any activity, application, or proceeding which requires or may require an official act or action of the fire company for approval and / or payment.
SECTION 3 APPLICABILITY
This Code of Ethics and the Code of Ethics of the Halfmoon Fire District #1 are applicable to all officers and the members of the Hillcrest Volunteer Fire Department. The provisions of these documents shall apply to all officers and members in the carrying out of their fire department duties in accordance with all fire department and district policies, procedures, BPGs, and the applicable town, municipal, state, and federal laws.
SECTION 4 STANDARDS OF CONDUCT
a) No officer or other member of the fire department shall have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage in any business or transaction or activity, or incur any obligation of any nature, which is in conflict with, or might reasonably tend to conflict with the proper discharge of his or her duties in the public interest.
b) No officer or other member of the fire department shall represent private interests before the department or fire district, nor represent any private interests in any action or proceeding against the same. The preceding sentence shall not preclude any such personnel from appearing in the performance of public or civic obligations or on their own behalf with respect to matters of a personal nature.
c) No officer or other member of the fire department shall accept employment or engage in any business or activity which will require him to disclose confidential information. Additionally, disclosure of confidential information or use of confidential information to further his or her personal interests is not allowed.
d) No officer or other member of the fire department shall initiate or take part in any transaction (sale, ordering, service, etc.) of department property without approval of the fire department members, or district property without the approval of the Board of Fire Commissioners.
e) The chief of the fire Hillcrest Fire Department is directly responsible to the Board of Fire Commissioners for the proper administration and operation of the department, for the discipline of its members and in doing so may make such general orders, best practice guidelines (BPG), and fire department policies / procedures as may be necessary for the care and protection of the department and generally for the efficient operation of the department, provided such general orders and procedures do not conflict with the rulings / codes of the fire district and Town Law. All such procedures / policies / BPGs etc. are subject to the approval of the Board of Fire Commissioners, as they will by default become governing articles of the District.
f) Every officer and member of the fire department shall understand that he or she is entirely under the direction of the chief or officer in charge, or senior person of the department when called to active duty. While on duty at emergencies, in station, at training, at parades or while acting as a member of the fire department in any manner, that all orders given by the person in charge must be immediately acted upon and implicitly obeyed.
g) Every officer or other member of the fire department shall notify the fire chief’s office within 48 hours of any change of address or change of telephone numbers. The chief shall within 24 hours inform the Board of Fire Commissioners of such changes.
h) No officer or other member of the fire department shall respond to any meeting, training session, emergency, assigned duty, or any other department function or activity when his or her ability to drive a vehicle or properly perform his or her required duties is impaired. Additionally, no member shall consume beverages or drugs while on duty that could impair his / her ability to perform the required duties.
i) Every officer and other member of the fire department shall understand that items of issue including (but not limited to) helmet, bunker gear, boots, pager, charger, portable radios, ID cards, keys uniforms etc. are the exclusive property of the Halfmoon Fire District #1 or Hillcrest Volunteer Fire Department and shall be cared for / returned as directed by the chief. Every officer and other member of the fire district fire department shall be responsible for non-accidental damage or loss to items issued to him or her.
j) No officer or other member of the fire department shall borrow, lend, or remove any firematic equipment without the permission of the chief, or non-firematic departmental equipment without the permission of the president.
k) Every member of the fire department who finds valuables at an emergency scene will notify the Incident Commander of such. The Incident Commander will take the necessary steps to secure the valuables and take the appropriate action with the owners or proper authorities.
l) Every member will conduct their self in a manner that is in keeping with the good reputation, order and discipline of the fire department. Any member charged with unseemly conduct to a fellow fire fighter or conduct otherwise unbecoming of a firefighter may, if an investigation of the charges are substantiated, be disciplined or dismissed.
m) Every member who is injured or involved in an accident while reporting to, or while on duty, will immediately report the injury as per the Occupational Health and Safety Policy.
n) No officer or other member of the fire department shall take official action upon any question in which he/she or any member of his/her immediate family has an interest.
SECTION 5 PERSONAL GAIN AND IMPROPRIETY
a) No officer or other member of the fire department shall create an appearance of impropriety by giving the impression that he or she will exercise or perform his or her official duties on the basis of family, private business, or social relationships, or any consideration other than for the welfare of the fire department or fire district.
b) No officer or other member of the fire department may use his/her position to secure unwarranted personal or private gain for himself/herself, or for any other person or any organization.
c) No officer or other member of the fire department may use or permit the use of fire district resources for personal or private purposes. Fire district resources include (but are not limited to) the use of fire district monies, vehicles, credit cards, debit cards, or supplies.
d) No officer or other member of the fire department shall cause the fire department or district to spend more than is reasonably necessary for transportation, meals or lodging in connection with official travel.
e) This document does not prohibit an officer or member of the fire department from:
· voting to approve a fire district’s annual budget (as allowed by law);
· voting to nominate chief officers for Board approval;
· voting to elect other fire department administrative or firematic officers;
· receiving lawful payment or reimbursement for actual and reasonable necessary and approved expenses incurred;
· authorizing or receiving payments under a lawful fire district or department contract;
· responding to a fire or other emergency;
· receiving lawful benefits as a fire department member including (but not limited to) service awards, group life insurance, and benefits under the Volunteer Firefighters Benefits Law.
SECTION 6 DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS
a) Every chief officer and other member of the fire department must disclose the nature of any interest in any matter coming before the department for action, which he/she may have a vested interest.
b) The disclosure required by this section should be verbal and should be at the department meeting and prior to any pending action on the matter in question.
SECTION 7 CONFLICTS WITH DUTIES
a) No officer or other member of the fire department may hold the following investments:
1) personal investments that will be directly affected by the exercise or performance of the person’s fire department powers and duties; or
2) personal investments that would otherwise impair the person’s independence of judgment in the exercise or performance of his or her fire department powers and duties.
b) This section does not prohibit an officer or other member of the fire department from owning any of the following assets:
1) Real property located within the fire district or any other area serviced by the fire department and used for his/her personal residence;
2) Less than five (5) percent of the stock of a publicly traded corporation; or
3) bonds or notes issued by the fire district or fire department and acquired more than one year after the date on which the bonds or notes were originally issued.
c) No officer or other member of the fire department may accept employment or engage in any business or professional activity which impairs a person’s independence of judgment in the exercise or performance of his/her fire department powers and duties; or is likely to require disclosure of confidential information.
d) No officer or other member of the fire department may represent another person or organization before the board of fire commissioners; may render services to another person or organization in relation to any matter which must come before ( or is pending before) the board of fire commissioners.
e) This section does not prohibit a fire department member from:
1) representing him/herself , or his/her spouse or minor child/children before the board of fire commissioners;
2) asserting a claim against the fire district on his or her own behalf, or on behalf of his/her spouse or minor child / children;
3) performing services pursuant to a lawful and duly authorized contract with the fire department, provided that if the consideration payable under the contract exceeds $1000.00, and the contract was awarded through competitive bidding or some other competitive process;
4) performing services pursuant to a lawful and duly authorized contract with the fire district, provided that the contract was awarded per the provisions of the fire district’s procurement policy.
SECTION 8 FUTURE EMPLOYMENT
a) No officer or other member of the fire department for a period of two years after serving as such officer or other member of the fire department may represent another person or organization before the fire department or the board of fire commissioners; render services to another person or organization in connection with any matter which must come (or is pending) before the board of fire commissioners or the fire department.
b) This section does not prohibit an officer or other member of the fire department from exercising the same actions as stated in section 7e (above).
SECTION 9 GIFTS
a) No officer or other member of the fire department may directly or indirectly solicit any gift nor accept or receive any gift, or multiple gifts from the same donor (over a 12 month period), having an aggregate value of seventy-five dollars ($75.00) or more when:
1) it appears that the gift is intended to influence the officer or other member of the fire department;
2) the gift could reasonably be expected to influence the officer or other member of the fire department in the exercise or performance of his/her official powers or duties;
3) the gift is intended as a reward for any official action on the part of the officer or other member of the fire department.
b) For the purpose of this section, a “gift” includes anything of value, whether in the form of money, service, a loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, or any other form. The value of a gift is the gift’s fair market value, determined by the retail cost of the item or a comparable item. The fair market value of a ticket entitling the holder food, refreshments, entertainment, or any other benefit is the face value of the ticket, or the actual cost to the donor (whichever is greater). Determination of whether multiple gifts from a single donor exceeds the $75.00 limit must be made by adding together the value of all gifts received from the donor during the twelve month period preceding the receipt of the most recent gift.
c) A gift from a person or organization that has a contract (or seeks to get one) with the fire district or fire department is presumed to be a gift that is intended to influence an officer or other member of the fire department and is not allowed.
d) This section does not prohibit the receiving of:
1) gifts made to the fire department;
2) legal fund raising activities authorized by the fire department and / or the board of fire commissioners;
3) gifts from a person with a family or personal relationship with the officer or other member of the fire department when the circumstances make it clear that it is that personal relationship, rather than the recipient’s status as an officer or other member of the fire department , that is the primary motivating factor for the gift;
4) gifts which are modest, reasonable and customary, given on special occasions, such as marriage, illness, or retirement;
5) unsolicited advertising or promotional materials of little intrinsic value, such as pens, pencils, note pads, hats, or calendars;
6) awards and plaques costing less than $75.00 which are publicly presented in recognition of service; or
7) payments of rewards authorized by law.
SECTION 10 BOARD OF ETHICS & FILING COMPLAINTS:
a) There has been a Board of Ethics established for the Halfmoon Fire District #1. That Board of Ethics will operate under the fire district’s code of ethics and make rulings relative to the ethical conduct of the officers and members of the Hillcrest Fire Department.
b) Any written complaint / inquiry / question relative to an officers or members ethical conduct must be signed, must include the complainant’s address and telephone number, and set forth reasonable detail and documentation, if any, of the facts alleged to constitute the violation(s). See the district’s Code of Ethics for additional details.
SECTION 12 ENFORCEMENT AND PENALTIES
a) Any officer or other member of the fire department who is found guilty of violating this Code of Ethics may be fined, suspended, of removed from an office he or she may hold, or may be removed from membership in the fire department in the manner prescribed by district policy or law. A violation of this code is deemed “misconduct” within the meaning of section 209-l of the General Municipal Law.