Commitment to the Highest Ethical Standards
It is a serious breach of the public trust to subvert the public purchasing process by directing purchases to certain favored vendors, or to tamper with the competitive bidding process, whether it's done for kickbacks, friendship or any other reason. Since misuse of the purchasing power of a local government carries criminal penalties, and many such misuses are from a lack of clear guidelines about what constitutes an abuse of office, the Code of Ethics outlined below must be strictly followed.
Williamson County also requires ethical conduct from those who do business with the county. Contracts will contain a clause stating that any efforts to influence an employee to violate the standards of the Code are grounds to void the contract. Vendors to the government are required to certify that they will not attempt to influence any employee to violate the Code.
Statement of Purchasing Policy
Public employment is a public trust. It is the policy of Williamson County to promote and balance the objective of protecting the county's integrity and the objective of facilitating the recruitment and retention of personnel needed by Williamson County. Such policy is implemented by prescribing essential standards of ethical conduct without creating unnecessary obstacles to entering public service.
Public employees must discharge their duties impartially so as to assure fair competitive access to governmental procurement by responsible contractors. Moreover, they should conduct themselves in such a manner as to foster public confidence in the integrity of the Williamson County procurement organization.
To achieve the purpose of this Article, it is essential that those doing business with Williamson County also observe the ethical standards prescribed here.
General Ethical Standards
- Personal Gain: It shall be a breach of ethics to attempt to realize personal gain through public employment with Williamson County by any conduct inconsistent with the proper discharge of the employee's duties.
- Influence: It shall be a breach of ethics to attempt to influence any public employee of Williamson County to breach the standards of ethical conduct set forth in this code.
- Conflicts of Interest: It shall be a breach of ethics for any employee of Williamson County to participate directly or indirectly in a procurement when the employee knows that:
- the employee or any member of the employee's immediate family has a financial interest pertaining to the procurement;
- a business or organization in which the employee, or any member of the employee's immediate family, has a financial interest pertaining to the procurement; and
- any other person, business or organization with whom the employee or any member of the employee's immediate family is negotiating or has an arrangement concerning prospective employment is involved in the procurement.
- Gratuities: It shall be a breach of ethics to offer, give or agree to give any employee or former employee of Williamson County, or for any employee or former employee of Williamson County to solicit, demand, accept or agree to accept from another person, a gratuity or an offer of employment in connection with any decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, preparation of any part of a program requirement or purchase request, influencing the content of any specification or procurement standard, rendering of advice, investigation, auditing, or in any other advisory capacity in any proceeding or application, request for ruling, determination, claim or controversy, or other particular matter pertaining to any program requirement or a contract or subcontract, or to any solicitation or proposal therefore pending before this government.
- Kickbacks: It shall be a breach of ethics for any payment, gratuity or offer of employment to be made by or on behalf of a subcontractor under a contract to the prime contractor or higher tier subcontractor for any contract for Williamson County, or any person associated therewith, as an inducement for the award of a subcontract or order.
- Contract Clause: The prohibition against gratuities and kickbacks prescribed above shall be conspicuously set forth in every contract and solicitation therefore.
- Confidential Information: It shall be a breach of ethics for any employee or former employee of Williamson County knowingly to use confidential information for actual or anticipated personal gain, or for the actual or anticipated gain of any person.