Code of Ethics

1. Be dedicated to the concepts of the effective and democratic local government by responsible elected officials and believe that professional general management is essential to the achievement of this objective.

2. Affirm the dignity and worth of the services rendered by government and maintain a constructive, creative, and practical attitude toward municipal affairs and a deep sense of social responsibility as a trusted public servant.



When members advise and respond to inquiries from elected or appointed officials of other municipalities, they should inform the administrators of those communities.

3. Be dedicated to the highest ideals of honor and integrity in all public and personal relationships in order that the member may merit the respect and confidence of the elected officials and employees, and of the public.



Members should conduct themselves so as to maintain public confidence in their profession, their local government, and in their performance of the public trust.


Members should conduct their official personal affairs in such a manner as to give the clear impression that they cannot be improperly influenced in the performance of their official duties.


Members who accept an appointment to a position should not fail to report to that position. This does not preclude the possibility of a member considering several positions at the same time, but once a bona fide offer of a position has been accepted, that commitment should be honored. Oral acceptance of an employment offer is considered binding unless the employer makes fundamental changes in the terms of employment.


An application for employment should be complete and accurate as to all pertinent details of education, experience, and personal history. Members should recognize that both omissions and inaccuracies must be avoided.


Members seeking a management position should show professional respect for persons formerly holding the position or for others who might be applying for the same position. Professional respect does no preclude honest differences of opinion; it does preclude attacking a person’s motives or integrity in order to be appointed to a position.


Members should not discuss or divulge information regarding pending or completed ethics cases with anyone, except as specifically authorized by the Rule of Procedure for Enforcement of the Code of Ethics.


Members should not seek employment in a community having an incumbent administrator who has not tendered his or her resignation or been officially informed that his or her services are to be terminated.

4. Recognize that at all times the chief function of local government is to serve the best interests of the people.



A minimum of two years generally is considered necessary in order to render a professional service to a municipality. A short tenure should be the exception rather than a recurring experience. However, under special circumstances it may be in the best interest of a municipality and the member to separate in a shorter time period. Examples of such circumstances include refusal of the appointing authority to honor commitments concerning conditions of employment, a vote of “no confidence” in the member, or severe personal problems. It is the responsibility of an applicant for a position to ascertain conditions of employment. Inadequately determining terms of employment prior to arrival does not justify “premature” termination.

5. Submit policy proposals to elected officials; provide them with facts and advice on matters of policy as a basis for making decisions and setting community goals; and uphold and implement municipal polices adopted by elected officials.



Members who serve multiple roles – for example, working as both city manager and city attorney for the same community – should avoid participating in matters that create conflict of interest. Members should disclose the potential conflict to the governing boy so that other opinions may be solicited.

6. Recognize that elected representatives of the people are entitled to the credit for the establishment of municipal policies; whereas, the responsibility for the implementation of such policies rests with the member.

7. Refrain from participation in the election of the members of the employing legislative body, and from all partisan political activities that would impair performance as a professional administrator.


Elections of the Governing Body

Members should maintain a reputation for serving equally impartially all members of the governing body of the municipality he or she serves. Members should not engage in active participation or campaign on the behalf of or in opposition to candidates for the governing body.

Other Elections

Members may share with their fellow citizens the right and responsibility to exercise their franchise and voice their opinion on public issues. However, in order to maintain their effectiveness on behalf of the municipalities they serve, they should not participate in election campaigns for representatives from their area to school, borough, state and federal offices.

Elections on the Council – Manager Plan

Members may assist in preparing and presenting materials that explain the council-manager form of government to the public prior to an election. Members may respond to a request for assistance by another community. All activities regarding ballot activities should be conducted in accordance with local regulations and in a professional manner.

Presentations of Issues

Members may assist the governing body in presenting information on issues involved in referenda such as bonds, annexations, and similar matters.

8. Make it a duty to continually improve the member’s professional ability and to develop the competence of associates in the use of management techniques.

9. Keep the community informed on municipal affairs; encourage communication between the citizens and all municipal officers; emphasize friendly and courteous service to the public; and seek to improve the quality and image of public service.

10. Resist any encroachment on professional responsibilities, believing that the member should be free to carry out official policies without interference, and handle each problem without discrimination on the basis of principle and justice.


Information Sharing

Members should openly share information with the governing body while diligently carrying out the member’s responsibility as set forth in the charter or local ordinances and states law.

11. Members should handle all personnel matters on the basis of merit so that fairness and impartiality govern a member’s decisions pertaining to appointments, compensation, promotions, and discipline.


Equal Opportunity

Members should develop a positive program that will ensure meaningful employment opportunities for all segments of the community. All programs, practices, and operations should: (1) provide equal employment opportunity for all qualified persons; (2) prohibit discrimination; and (3) promote continuing programs of affirmative action at all levels within the organization.

It should be the member’s personal and professional responsibility to actively recruit and hire minorities and women to serve on professional staffs throughout their organization.

12. Seek no favor; believe that personal aggrandizement of profit secured by confidential information of misuse of time is dishonest.



Members should not directly or indirectly solicit any gift or accept or receive any gift – whether it be money, services, loans, travel, entertainment, hospitality, promise or any other form- under the following circumstances; (1) it could reasonably be inferred or expected that the gift was intended to influence them in the performance or their official duties; or (2) the gift was intended to serve as a reward for any official action on their part.

It is important that the prohibition of unsolicited gifts be limited to circumstances related to improper influence. In situations such as meals, an appropriate maximum dollar value should be determined by the member as a guideline. This guideline is not intended to isolate members from normal social practices where gifts among friends, associates, and relatives are appropriate for certain occasions. Investments in conflict with official duties

Members should not invest or hold any investment, directly or indirectly, in any financial business, commercial or other private transaction that creates a conflict with their official duties. In the case of real estate, the potential use of confidential information and knowledge to further a member’s personal interest requires special consideration.

This guideline recognizes that members’ official actions and decisions can be influenced if there is a conflict with personal investments. Purchases and sales which might be interpreted as speculation for quick profit ought to be avoided. (refer to guideline on “confidential information”). Because personal investments may prejudice or may appear to influence official actions and decisions, members may, with the knowledge and concurrence, of their governing body, provide for the disclosure of such investments prior to accepting their position as a municipal administrator or prior to any official action by the governing body that may affect such investments.

Personal Relationships

Members should disclose to the governing body any personal relationship in any instance where there could be the appearance of a conflict of interest. For example, if the manager’s spouse works for a developer doing business with the local government, that fact should be disclosed.

Confidential Information

Members should not disclose to others, or use to further their personal interest, confidential information acquired by them during the course of their official duties.

Private Employment

Members should not engage in, solicit, negotiate for or promise to accept private employment, nor should they render services for private interests or conduct a privates business when such employment, service, or business creates a conflict with or impairs the proper discharge of their official duties.

Teaching, lecturing, writing, or consulting are typical activities that may not create a conflict of interest or impair the proper discharge of a member’s official duties. Prior notification of the appointing authority is appropriate in all instances of outside employment.


Members should not represent any outside interest before any agency, whether public, or private, except with the authorization or at the direction of the appointing authority they serve.


Members should not endorse commercial products by agreeing to use their photograph, endorsement, or quotation in paid advertisements, unless the endorsement is for a public purpose, is approved by or at the direction of the governing body, and the member receives not compensation. Examples of public purposes include economic development for the local government and the sale of local government products. Member’s observations, opinions, and analyses of commercial products used or tested by their municipality are appropriate and useful to the profession when included as part of the professional articles and reports.

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