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Ethics in City Government (1992)
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ETHICS IN CITY GOVERNMENT - CITY OF CHICAGO
A Guide for Employees
The City's Governmental Ethics Ordinance (Chapter 2-156 of the Municipal Code of Chicago) imposes restrictions on the behavior of all employees of the City. This pamphlet provides a general summary of some of those restrictions. To the extent that this summary differs from the language of the Ordinance, the language of the Ordinance is controlling. Complete copies of the Ordinance are available upon request.
Use of Property
Employees shall not engage in or permit the unauthorized use of City-owned property.
Employment of Relatives
Employees shall not hire or advocate for hiring their relatives for jobs in the City agency where they are employed.
Employees shall not hire or advocate for hiring any person for a job in the City agency where they are employed in exchange for having their relative hired by any other City official or employee.
Employees shall not exercise contract management authority over a contract with a person doing City work who employs or has a contract with a relative of the City employee. Contract management authority means personal involvement in or direct supervisory responsibility for the formulation or execution of a City contract.
Gifts and Favors
City employees, their spouses, and their minor children shall not accept:
(a) an anonymous gift;
(b) a gift or other thing of value based on some mutual understanding that the gift will influence the employee's decisions in his or her City position;
(c) a gift, money, or other thing of value in return for advice or assistance on matters concerning the business or operation of the City; provided, however, that nothing in this section (c) shall prevent an employee or the spouse of an employee from accepting compensation for services wholly unrelated to the employee's City duties and responsibilities and rendered as part of his or her non-City employment, occupation, or profession; or
(d) a gift from a person who has an economic interest in a specific City business, service, or regulatory transaction with the City when the employee is in a position to substantially affect that transaction. This restriction does not apply to an occasional non-monetary gift under $50 or a gift from a relative.
City employees, spouses, and their minor children may accept gifts on behalf of the City provided the gifts are promptly reported to the Board of Ethics and to the City Comptroller.
City employees may accept compensation for reasonable travel and entertainment expenses incurred in connection with a public event if the event is related to City business and if the person providing these expenses is the sponsor of the event.
Although dual employment (having a second job) is prohibited, the Ordinance does impose restrictions or employees who have a second job.
Employees shall not use City time or City-owned property in their non-City employment or business.
Employees shall not use or reveals confide information gained from their City employment.
City employees shall not accept money or things of value for giving advice or assistance on matters concerning City business.
Interest in City Business
Employees shall not take part in any governmental decisions involving any matter if they have an "economic interest" distinguishable from that general public.
Employees shall not have a "financial interest" in any contract, work, or business of the City. "Financial Interest" is any interest that (1) entitles an employee to receive more than $2,500 per year (2) has a present value of $5,000 or more, represents more than 10% of a corporation or any other profit-making organization.
Employees shall not have a financial interest in the purchase of City property unless it is sold through the process of competitive bidding after public notice has been given.
Employees who have a "financial interest" in any matter pending before any City agency must disclose their interests to the Board of Ethics, and if the ter is pending before their own agency, to the of the agency.
An employee who leaves his or her City position may be subject to post-employment restrictions.
One-Year Prohibition: A former employee shall not, for a period of one year after leaving employment with the City, assist or represent any person in any business transaction involving the City if that employee participated personally and substantially in the subject matter of the transaction while working for the City.
Permanent Prohibition: A former employee who was personally involved in or had direct supervisory responsibility for the formulation or execution of a contract during his or her City service is permanently barred from assisting or representing any person in any business transaction involving the City with respect to that contract.
A financial interests disclosure statement must be filed with the Board of Ethics each year by the following City employees:
Employees who are compensated $40,000 per year or more for their City service (not including overtime);
Employees who receive a pay increase that puts their compensation from the City at the rate of $40,000 per year or more;
Employees who hold a position that is budgeted for compensation at the rate of $40,000 per year or more; and
Employees whose total income (including salary, hourly wages, compensation for professional services, or independent contracts) from the City is $46,000 per year or more.
A violation of any of the provisions of the Ordinance can result in penalties being imposed.