Gift Explanation

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Code of Ethics Section 6 Prohibited Behaviors, Part B Gifts:  Solicitation/Acceptance:

B. Gifts:  Solicitation/Acceptance.

1.     Restriction on Acceptance/Solicitation of Gifts by City Officials and Employees

a.     No City official or employee or member of his/her immediate family shall accept or solicit any gift, gratuity, money, favors, invitations, food, drink, loans, promises, or other benefits (collectively referred to as “gifts”) from any person, firm, corporation, or association which to his knowledge is interested, directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever, in business dealings with the City provided that City official or employee has any influence, directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever, in the City's participation in those business dealings.

 

b.     No City official or employee or member of his/her immediate family shall accept or solicit any gift that may in any circumstance appear to be an attempt to influence that official or employee in the discharge of his or her official duties.

 

c.     City officials and City employees are also subject to those related, applicable ordinances of the City Charter, Codes of the City of Reading, and the Pennsylvania Public Official and Employee Ethics Act (65 PaC.S.A. Sect 1101.1 et seq, as amended), and all related statutes and regulations.

 

  1. Exceptions

A City official, employee, or member of his/her immediate family may accept, but not solicit, the following gifts, notwithstanding that the person giving the gift may be seeking official action from that officer or employee:

a.     Hospitality provided at a residence when the donor is present;

 

b.     Food, beverages, or entertainment provided at an event for which attendees do not have to purchase a ticket;

 

c.     Food and beverages provided to all participants in the ordinary course of a meeting where the food and beverages are provided at the site of the meeting;

 

d.     Gifts of food (cookies, candy, etc) received shall be made available for consumption on the premises to the public and employees when such offer may not be reasonably seen as seeking to influence the public servants or to induce more favorable treatment toward the donor.

 

e.     Gifts resulting solely from the officer’s or employee’s outside employment, or from his or her membership in a bona fide charitable, professional, educational, labor, or trade organization;

 

f.       Rebates or discounts offered to members of the general public or a class of persons;

 

g.     Free admission to an event, including food, beverages, and entertainment, if the officer or employee is a guest speaker

 

h.     Free admission to political events, including food and beverages, if the officer or employee is permitted to engage in political activity in co-ordination with candidates, political parties, or partisan political groups;

 

i.      Nominal, de minimis tokens of appreciation given at public appearances;

 

j.      Gifts totaling less than $50 from a single individual during a single calendar year.

 

  1. Return of Gifts: Reporting

a.     In all but de minimis cases, all gifts received must be publicly recorded and submitted to the City Clerk on a form from the City’s Board of Ethics specifying:   the donor; the address of the donor; the date received; a concise description of the gift; and the value of the gift.  A gift having a value in excess of $50 may not be considered de minimis.

 

b.     The City Clerk shall file the gift disclosure form with the Board of Ethics and have the gift form uploaded onto the City’s website.

 

c.     The Ethics Board shall designate two (2) members (hereinafter the Subcommittee) who will evaluate the propriety of gifts valued at $50 or more, and determine if the gift must be returned to the donor.  The Subcommittee shall evaluate the propriety of the gift according to the provisions of (1) Restrictions, and (2) Exceptions above.

 

d.     The Subcommittee shall issue a written opinion to the party that submitted the form within 21 days unless a shorter timeline is agreed upon. The opinion shall include all material facts relied on by the Subcommittee, and articulate a basis for the decision.  All opinions shall be posted on the City’s website.  The officer or employee shall have the right to appeal the decision to the full Ethics Board.

 

4.      Political Candidates for City Offices.

a.     The provisions of (1), (2), and (3) above shall not apply to any campaign contribution to any candidate for City office, whether or not he or she is a City official or employee, provided the campaign contribution is legal and appropriately reported according to the Pennsylvania Election Code at 25 P.S. 2600, et seq., as amended, and all related statutes and regulations, as applicable and Ethics Code Section 12 Campaign Contributions and Reporting Requirements.  

 

b.     The provisions of  (1), (2), and (3) above shall apply in full to any other gift received by any candidate for City office, whether or not he or she is a City official or employee.

 

c.     Upon certification of any individual’s candidacy for City office, the City Clerk shall provide the candidate with a copy of this ordinance and a brief explanation of its requirements, receipt of which shall be acknowledged by the candidate’s signature.

 

By signing below, I indicate that I have read and fully understand and agree to abide by the City of Reading gift acceptance and reporting requirements.

 

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Signature

 

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