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Definitions of Ethics Code Words

  1. What does "participate in a matter" mean? What is a "Covered Individual?" Who is included in "immediate family?"

    Answer: These words and phrases are defined in the Ethics Code, along with other words that have particular meaning under the law. Here are excerpts of Ethics Code definitions. See SMC 4.16.030 for the complete list. If the amended Code is not yet posted, you can see the new definitions in Ordinance 123010.
  • “Appointing authority” means a person authorized by ordinance or Charter to employ others on behalf of the City, usually the head of a department. With reference to a City contractor it is the person who is authorized to award the contract.

  • "Assist" means to act, or offer or agree to act, in such a way as to help, aid, advise, furnish information to, or otherwise provide assistance to another person, believing that the action is of help, aid, advice, or assistance to the person and with intent so to assist such person.

  • “City contractor” means an individual who spends more than 1,000 hours in any twelve-month period providing services to a City agency under a contract, other than a contract of employment. [Included as a “Covered Individual” after October 20, 2009.]

  • “Communicate,” for the purposes of SMC 4.16.075, means to communicate in any form, including, without limitation, personally, through another person, by letter, by electronic mail, or by telephone.

  • “Confidential Information” means (i) specific information, rather than generalized knowledge, that is not available to a person who files a public records request, and (ii) information made confidential by law.

  • “Covered Individual” means any City officer, City employee, or City volunteer. Covered Individual also includes every individual who was a City officer, City employee, or City volunteer at the time of the act or omission that is alleged to have violated this chapter, even if he or she no longer has that status. [After 10/20/09 includes City contractor.]

  • “Immediate family” means a spouse or domestic partner, child, child of a spouse or domestic partner, sibling, sibling of a domestic partner, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, parent, parent of a spouse or domestic partner, a person for whom the Covered Individual is a legal guardian, or a person claimed as a dependent on the Covered Individual’s most recently filed federal income tax return.

  • "Matter" means an application, submission, request for a ruling or other determination, permit, contract, claim, proceeding, case, decision, rulemaking, legislation, or other similar action. Matter includes the preparation, consideration, discussion, or enactment of administrative rules or legislation. Matter does not include advice or recommendations regarding broad policies and goals.

  • "Participate" means to consider, investigate, advise, recommend, approve, disapprove, decide, or take other similar action.

  • "Person" means an individual, association, corporation, or other legal entity.

  • "Proceeding" means a matter that involves a named party or parties in which a City agency administers, interprets, or executes City laws. Proceeding does not include the preparation, consideration, discussion, or enactment of administrative rules or legislation.

See the Ethics Code for additional definitions, or contact the SEEC for assistance.



Last updated August 11, 2009.

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