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City of Albany Code of Business Conduct and Ethics

1.1: Introduction

This policy is only applicable to City employees, appointed City officials, agents and contractors of the City, but is not applicable to any elected officials. The Code of Business Conduct and Ethics helps ensure compliance with legal requirements and standards of business conduct for the City of Albany. All City employees are expected to read and understand this Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, uphold these standards in day to day activities, comply with all applicable policies and procedures, and ensure that all agents and contractors are aware of, understand and adhere to these standards. This policy recognizes that in determining ethical conduct, an employee or appointed official must bear in mind that he/she may have to also comply with additional standards. For example, an employee or official may be a member of a professional organization that places additional or higher constraints on individual conduct.

Because the principles described in this Code of Business Conduct and Ethics are general in nature, employees should also review all applicable City policies and procedures for more specific instruction and contact the Human Resources Department or Legal Department if you have any questions.

This Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, City policies and procedures, and/or other related communications (verbal or written) do not create or imply an employment contract or term of employment.

The City of Albany is committed to continuously reviewing and updating city policies and procedures. Therefore, this Code of Business Conduct and Ethics is subject to modification. This Code of Business Conduct and Ethics supersedes all other such codes, policies, procedures, instructions, practices, rules or written or verbal representations to the extent they are inconsistent.

1.2: Compliance Is Everyone's Business

Ethical business conduct is critical to services the City of Albany provides to the citizens of Albany. City employees are expected to closely examine this document and adhere to these practices. Many of these practices reflect legal or regulatory requirements. Violations of these laws and regulations can create significant liability for the employee, the City of Albany including department directors, other employees, and elected-officials.

It is the job of employees and their ethical responsibility to help enforce this Code of Business Conduct and Ethics. Employees should be alert to and report possible violations in accordance with the whistleblower policy which sets forth:

Any report may be made anonymously and must be made in one of the following ways:

  • By contacting the supervisor;
  • By contacting the City’s Human Resources or City Attorney.
  • By calling the City’s Compliance Officer or City Hotline as established by the City’s Human Resources Office
  • By mail to the City Compliance Officer, Human Resources Department, P.O. Box 447, Albany, GA 31702-0447

Employees must cooperate in any internal or external investigations of possible violations. Reprisal, threats, retribution or retaliation against any person who has in good faith reported a violation or a suspected violation of law of this Code of Business Conduct or other City policies, or against any person who is assisting in any investigation or process with respect to such a violation, is prohibited. The City has a more detailed set of guidelines with respect to reporting violations. Employees are expected to review, understand and follow such policies and procedures.

Violations of law, this Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, or other City policies or procedures may lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

In all cases, if you are unsure about the appropriateness of an event or action, please seek assistance in interpreting the requirements of these practices by contacting the City Attorney’s Office.

1.3: Employee’s Responsibilities - To the City and its Citizen we serve.

1. General Standards of Conduct

The City of Albany expects all employees, agents and contractors to exercise good judgment to ensure the safety and welfare of employees, agents and contractors and to maintain a cooperative, efficient, positive, harmonious and productive work environment and business organization. These standards apply while working on city premises, at offsite locations where city business is being conducted, at City sponsored business and social events, or at any other place where employees represent the City of Albany. Employees, agents or contractors who engage in misconduct or whose performance is unsatisfactory may be subject to corrective action, up to and including termination.

2. Applicable Laws

All City employees, agents and contractors must comply with all applicable laws, regulations, rules and regulatory orders. Each employee, agent and contractor must acquire appropriate knowledge of the requirements relating to his or her duties sufficient to enable him or her to recognize potential dangers and to know when to seek advice from the City’s Compliance Officer or City Attorney’s Office on specific City policies and procedures. Violations of laws, regulations, rules and orders may subject the employee, agent or contractor to individual criminal or civil liability, as well as to discipline by the City. Such individual violations may also subject the City to civil and/or criminal liability.

3. Conflicts of Interest

Each employee has a responsibility to the City, citizens and each other. Although this duty does not prevent employees from engaging in personal transactions and investments, it does demand avoidance of situations where a conflict of interest might occur or appear to occur. The City is subject to scrutiny from many different individuals and organizations; therefore, employees should always strive to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

A conflict of interest exists where the interests or benefits of one person or entity conflict with the interests or benefits of the City. Examples include:

1. Employment/Outside Employment. In consideration of employment with the City of Albany, employees are expected to devote full attention to the business interests of the City of Albany and are prohibited from engaging in any activity that interferes with job performance or responsibilities to the City, its citizens or is otherwise in conflict with or prejudicial to the City. City policies prohibit any employee from accepting simultaneous employment with a City supplier, customer, or developer, or from taking part in any activity that adversely affects the City’s competitive advantage. Additionally, employees must disclose to the City any interest that may conflict with the business of the City. Questions should be directed to the employee’s immediate supervisor, the Human Resources Department or City Attorney’s Office.

2. Business Interests. Employees considering investing in a City customer, supplier, developer or competitor, must first take great care to ensure that these investments do not compromise job responsibilities to the City. Many factors should be considered in determining whether a conflict exists, including the size and nature of the investment; ability to influence the City's decisions; access to confidential information of the City or of the other company; and the nature of the relationship between the City and the other company. Again, avoiding the appearance of impropriety or conflict.

3. Related Parties. As a general rule, employees should avoid conducting City business with a relative or significant other, or with a business in which a relative or significant other is associated in any noteworthy role. Relatives include spouse, sister, brother, daughter, son, mother, father, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, step relationships, and in laws. Significant others include persons living in a spousal (including same sex) or familial fashion with an employee.

If such a related party transaction is unavoidable, the employee must fully disclose the nature of the related party transaction to the City Attorney. If determined to be material to the City by the Financial Director, the City Attorney must review and approve in writing in advance such related party transactions. The most significant related party transactions, particularly those involving the City’s directors or executive officers, must be reviewed and approved in writing in advance by the City Manager and City Attorney. The City must report all such material related party transactions under applicable accounting rules, federal securities laws, SEC rules and regulations, and securities market rules. Any dealings with a related party must be conducted in such a way that no preferential treatment is given to this business.

The City discourages the employment of relatives and significant others in positions or assignments within the same department and prohibits the employment of such individuals in positions that have a financial dependence or influence (e.g., an auditing or control relationship, or a supervisor/subordinate relationship). The purpose of this policy is to prevent the organizational impairment and conflicts that are a likely outcome of the employment of relatives or significant others, especially in a supervisor/subordinate relationship. If a question arises about whether a relationship is covered by this policy, the Human Resources Department is responsible for determining whether an applicant's or transferee's acknowledged relationship is covered by this policy. The Human Resources Department shall advise all affected applicants and transferees of this policy. Willful withholding of information regarding a prohibited relationship/reporting arrangement may be subject to corrective action, up to and including termination. If a prohibited relationship exists or develops between two employees, the employee in the senior position must bring this to the attention of his/her supervisor. The City retains the prerogative to separate the individuals at the earliest possible time, either by reassignment or by termination, if necessary.

4. Other Situations. Because other conflicts of interest may arise, it would be impractical to attempt to list all possible situations. If a proposed transaction or situation raises, any questions or doubts should be directed to the City Attorney’s Office. This policy prohibits real and apparent conflicts of interest that may arise among appointed officials, employees, or agents.

4. City Opportunities

Employees, officers and directors may not exploit for their own personal gain opportunities that are discovered through the use of corporate property, information or position unless the opportunity is disclosed fully in writing to the City Manager, that they declines to pursue such opportunity.

1. Requests by Regulatory Authorities. The City and its employees, agents and contractors must cooperate with appropriate government inquiries and investigations. In this context, however, it is important to protect the legal rights of the City with respect to its confidential information. All government and public requests for information (Open Records Request), documents or investigative interviews must be referred to the City Attorney’s Office. No financial information may be disclosed without the prior approval of the City Manager and City Attorney’s Office.

2. City’s Spokespeople. The City Manager is the official spokes person for the City and has herein delegated that authority to Department Directors or others officially appointed to perform in the absence of the Director.

5. Use of City's Assets

1. General. Protecting the City's assets is a key fiduciary responsibility of every employee, agent and contractor. Care should be taken to ensure that assets are not misappropriated, loaned to others, sold or donated, without appropriate authorization. All City employees, agents and contractors are responsible for the proper use of City assets, and must safeguard such assets against loss, damage, misuse or theft. Employees, agents or contractors who violate any aspect of this policy or who demonstrate poor judgment in the manner in which they use any City asset may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment at the City’s sole discretion. City equipment and Property (buildings and land) are assets to be used for City business purposes only. Employees, agents and contractors may not use City assets for personal use, nor may they allow any other person to use City assets. Employees who have any questions regarding this policy should bring them to the attention of the City’s Human Resources Department or City Attorney’s Office.

2. City Funds. Every City employee is personally responsible for all City funds over which he or she exercises control. City agents and contractors should not be allowed to exercise control over Company funds. City funds must be used only for City business purposes. Every City employee, agent and contractor must take reasonable steps to ensure that the City receives good value for City funds spent, and must maintain accurate and timely records of each and every expenditure. Expense reports must be accurate and submitted in a timely manner. City employees, agents and contractors must not use City funds for any personal purpose.

3. Computers and Other Equipment. The City strives to furnish employees with the equipment necessary to efficiently and effectively do their jobs. It is the responsibility of employees to care for that equipment and use it responsibly and only for City business purposes. If City equipment is used at home or off site, take precautions to protect it from theft or damage, just as if it were your own. Once a person is no longer an employee of the City, all city property is to be immediately returned While computers and other electronic devices are made accessible to employees to assist them to perform their jobs and to promote the City's interests, all such computers and electronic devices, whether used entirely or partially on the City's premises or with the aid of the City's equipment or resources, must remain fully accessible to the City and, to the maximum extent permitted by law, will remain the sole and exclusive property of the City.

Employees, agents and contractors should not maintain any expectation of privacy with respect to information transmitted over, received by, or stored in any electronic communications device owned, leased, or operated in whole or in part by or on behalf of the City. To the extent permitted by applicable law, the City retains the right to gain access to any information received by, transmitted by, or stored in any such electronic communications device, by and through its employees, agents, contractors, or representatives, at any time, either with or without an employees or third party's knowledge, consent or approval.

4. Software. All software used by employees to conduct City business must be appropriately licensed. Never make or use illegal or unauthorized copies of any software, whether in the office, at home, or on the road, since doing so may constitute copyright infringement and may expose employees and the City to potential civil and criminal liability. In addition, use of illegal or unauthorized copies of software may subject the employee to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. The City's Information Technology Department ("IT Department") will inspect City computers periodically to verify that only approved and licensed software has been installed. Any non licensed/supported software will be removed.

5. Frequent Flyer Miles. Mileage earned on City related travel are assigned to the individual and will be use to reduce future city travel by the individual. When the employee retires the miles will remain the property of the individual.

6. City Credit Card Usage. These cards are to be used for Authorized City business only and receipts are to be maintained, signed as verification of accuracy and authorized expenditure. Once signed they are to be turned-in to department finance officers/accounts clerk for retention. Should a card be used by mistake for personal business, the error will be immediately reported to the employee’s reporting senior, and a formal report will be made to include a check for repayment of the unauthorized transaction. Repeated misuse of card may result in suspension, loss of card privileges and/or termination.

Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the City Attorney’s Office.

7. Prohibition of Inducements. Under no circumstances may employees, agents or contractors offer to pay, make payment, promise to pay, or issue authorization to pay any money, gift, or anything of value to customers, vendors, consultants, etc. that is perceived as intended, directly or indirectly, to improperly influence any business decision, any act or failure to act, any commitment of fraud, or opportunity for the commission of any fraud. Inexpensive gifts, infrequent business meals, celebratory events and entertainment, provided that they are not excessive or create an appearance of impropriety, do not violate this policy. Questions regarding whether a particular payment or gift violates this policy should be directed to Human Resources or the City Attorney’s Office.

1.4: Responsibilities To Our Customers And Our Suppliers

1. Customer Relationships

If the job of an employee requires the employee to be in contact with any city citizen, customers or potential customers, it is critical to remember that the employee represents the City of Albany to the people with whom you are dealing. Act in a manner that creates value for our citizens and helps to build a relationship based upon trust and goodwill. Trust and goodwill are our most important assets, and the City employees, agents and contractors must act to preserve it for its customers (Citizens).

2. Payments or Gifts

Under no circumstances may employees, agents or contractors accept any offer, payment, promise to pay, or authorization to pay any money, gift, or anything of value from customers, vendors, consultants, etc. Inexpensive gifts ($25.00 or less), infrequent business meals, celebratory events and entertainment, provided that they are not excessive or create an appearance of impropriety, do not violate this policy. Questions regarding whether a particular payment or gift violates this policy are to be directed to Human Resources or the City Attorney’s Office.

3. Publications of Others

The City subscribes to many publications that help employees do their jobs better. These include newspapers, newsletters, reference works, online reference services, magazines, books, and other digital and printed works. Copyright law generally protects these works, and their unauthorized copying and distribution constitute copyright infringement. Employees are to first obtain the consent of the publisher of a publication before copying publications or significant parts of them. When in doubt about whether a publication can be copied, consult the City Attorney’s Office.

1.5: Waivers

Any waiver of any provision of this Code of Business Conduct and Ethics for an appointed official, employee must be approved in writing by the City Attorney’s Office and promptly disclosed.

1.6: Disciplinary Actions

The matters covered in this Code of Business Conduct and Ethics are of the utmost importance to the City, its citizens and are essential to the City's ability to conduct its business in accordance with its stated values. It is expected that all employees, agents, contractors and consultants adhere to these rules in carrying out their duties for the City.

The City will take appropriate action against any employee, agent, contractor or consultant whose actions are found to violate these policies or any other policies of the City. Disciplinary actions may include immediate termination of employment or business relationship at the City's sole discretion. Where the City has suffered a loss, it may pursue its remedies against the individuals or entities responsible. Where laws have been violated, the City will cooperate fully with the appropriate authorities. For detailed punitive or disciplinary actions associated with violations of this policy, review the City's Personnel Management System policies and procedures.