THE AICP CODE OF ETHICS(AND MORE!)Massachuse tts Asso ciatio n o fPlanning Dire cto rsAnnualCo nfe re nceSpring fie ld MA– June 7 & 8 , 20 1 2Robert P. Mitchell FAICP, Planning Consultant -BostonPeter C. Lowitt FAICP, Director/Land UseAdministrator, Devens Enterprise Commission –DevensDwight H. Merriam FAICP, Partner, Robinson & Cole –Hartford & Boston
Ethics “Ethics is a system or code of morals of aparticular person, group or profession.”Webster’s “Always do right. This will gratify somepeople and astonish the rest."Mark Twain “Ethics are what you have when no one islooking.”Unknown
The AICP Code Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct Adopted 2005; Revised 2009(Ethics Codes for planners go back to 1959) 4 sections:A. Aspirational Values & IdealsB. Rules of ConductC. ProceduresD. Planners Convicted of Serious Crime
A.1 - Our Overall Responsibilityto the Public “Our primary obligation is to serve the publicinterest and we, therefore, owe our allegiance toa conscientiously attained concept of the publicinterest that is formulated through continuousand open debate. We shall achieve highstandards of professional integrity, proficiency,and knowledge. To comply with our obligation tothe public, we aspire to the following principles: Eight Principles are Listed
Code A.1 Shall be conscious of the rights of others Shall have special concern for long range consequences Shall pay special attention to interrelatedness of decisions Shall provide timely, adequate, clear and accurate information to all Shall give people opportunity to have meaningful impact on plans andprograms that affect them. Include people who lack influence ororganization. Shall seek social justice by working to expand choice and opportunity Shall promote excellence of design and endeavor to conserve &preserve integrity and heritage of natural & built environment Shall deal fairly and evenhandedly with participants in the planningprocess
A.2 - Responsibility to Our Clientsand Employers We owe diligent, creative, and competentperformance of the work we do in pursuit ofour client or employer’s interest. Suchperformance, however, shall always beconsistent with our faithful service to the publicinterest.
Code A.2 Shall exercise independent professionaljudgment Shall accept the decisions of clients/employersunless the course of action is illegal orinconsistent with our primary obligation toserve the public interest Shall avoid a conflict of interest or appearanceof such
A.3 - Our Responsibility to OurProfession and Colleagues We shall contribute to the development of, andrespect for, our profession by improvingknowledge and techniques, making workrelevant to solutions of community problems,and increasing public understanding ofplanning activities. Ten Principles are listed.
Code A.3 Shall protect & enhance integrity of the profession Shall educate the public about planning issues &relevance to their everyday lives Shall describe & comment on work & views of otherprofessionals in a fair and professional manner Shall share the results of experience & research thatcontributes to the body of planning knowledge Shall examine the applicability of planning theories,methods, research, practice & standards to the facts &analysis of each situation
Code A.3 (Continued) Shall contribute time & resources to the professionaldevelopment of students, interns, young planners &colleagues Shall increase the opportunities for underrepresentedgroups to become planners and help them advance inthe profession Shall continue to enhance our professional education &training Shall systematically & critically analyze ethical issues Shall contribute time & effort to those lacking planningresources; and shall volunteer for professional activities
Code B - Rules of Conduct We adhere to the following Rules ofConduct, and we understand that our Institutewill enforce compliance with them. If we fail toadhere to these Rules, we could receivesanctions, the ultimate being the loss of ourcertification. Note: there are 26 separate rules under this section.
Code B Shall not fail to provide adequate, timely, accurate information Shall not accept an illegal assignment or one in violation of AICPrules Shall not advocate for a position that is adverse to a positionadvocated for in past 3 years (with exceptions) Shall not, as salaried employee, take another planning job withoutdisclosure and approval Shall not as public employee accept other compensation oradvantage related to our employment. Shall not accept work that in addition to salary results in financialgain for you and/or your family unless disclosed & approved Shall not use for personal advantage confidential information
Code B (Continued) Shall not as public employee/official engage in private conversationsover matter which we have authority to decide (no ex partecommunications) Shall not engage in private conversations with decision makers ifprohibited by law, rule or regulation Shall not misrepresent the qualifications, views & findings of otherprofessionals Shall not solicit clients or employment through false/misleading claimsor harassment Shall not misstate our education, experience, training etc. Shall not offer to sell services by stating/implying ability to influencedecision by improper means Shall not use the power of office to obtain special advantages that arenot public knowledge and in the public trust
Code B (Continued) Shall not accept work beyond out professional competence Shall not accept work for a fee, or pro bono that cannot be performedwith the promptness required Shall not use others’ work to seek recognition or acclaim Shall not coerce other professionals to make findings not supported byevidence Shall not fail to disclose interests of our clients/employers whenparticipating in the planning process Shall not unlawfully discriminate against another Shall not withhold information from AICP if facing a charge of ethicalmisconduct Shall not retaliate against someone who has filed ethical misconductcharges against you or another planner
Code B (Continued) Shall not threaten ethics misconduct charge to gain advantages Shall not file frivolous charges of ethical misconduct Shall neither deliberately nor recklessly commit any wrongful actthat reflects adversely on the profession Shall not fail to notify AICP Ethics Officer if convicted of a “seriouscrime” as defined by Code section D, nor shall we identify ourselvesas AICP if so convicted.
Code ProceduresCode Procedures: Describe the way that one may obtain either aformal or informal advisory ethics ruling, and Detail how a charge of misconduct can befiled, and Describe how charges are investigated,prosecuted, and adjudicated.
Code Procedures Informal and Formal Advice Only the Ethics Officer, who is the APAExecutive Director, is authorized to give advice Formal advice is Binding Formal Advice: Findings within 21 days Forwarded to the Ethics Committee
Socializing Is it unethical, as a regulatory planner, tosocialize with your paid consultants as peers?They may buy drinks or dinner, but you will alsosometimes buy. Is the perception bad? On arelated topic, what if a planner is at aconference with several of the consultants thathe/she works with and is invited to go to dinner?One of the consultants picks up the tab. Anotherpays for cabs. A third picks up drinks afterdinner. Is there any conflict?
Climate Conflicts You are the planner for a town and have beenpreparing a climate action plan to bring beforethe Town Council. During the recent electionthe entire Town Council was replaced with agroup of climate change deniers who have toldyou in no uncertain terms, that bringing theclimate change action plan forward will resultin your termination. What do you do? Whataspects of the Code of Ethics apply?
Conflict of Interest - Family Is it a conflict of interest for a board member tovote on an application for a grocery store to belocated in proximity to where his parents live? Is it a conflict of interest for a board member tovote on an affordable housing developmentapplication when her sister is an abutter to thesite of the development?
Conflict of Interest - Family No – The court found no prohibited conflict of interestbecause there was no evidence that the boardmember did his parent’s grocery shopping or that theparents would shop at this particular store(N.J. Superior Court) Yes – A board member is prohibited from participatingin a particular manner in which she has knowledgethat an immediate family member has a financialinterest. Under the conflict of interest law, an abutter ispresumed to have a financial interest in matters onabutting property.Mass. Ethics Commission – (Board member fined$2000)
The Fruits of Your Labors You are a public sector planner workingwith a consulting firm in your community on aredevelopment plan. After several weeks,based on the quality of your work, the head ofthe firm offers you a position within the firm.Are there ethical considerations that wouldprevent you from accepting this position?
Ethics - Resources AICPCode of Ethics www.planning.org/ethics/index.htm American Planning Association – Ethical Principles of Planningwww.planning.org/ethics/ethicalprinciples.htm MA State Ethics Commission www.mass.gov/ethics Vermont Land Use Education & Training Collaborative – Rules ofProcedures & Ethics Manual www.vpic.info/pubs/rules_proc.pdf Canadian Institute of Planners Professional Practice Manual -Code of Practice www.cip-icu.ca Proposal to establish an “Intergovernmental EthicsPanel forEcological Civilization” to bediscussed at Rio +20 Conference in late June.
Open Meeting Law Effective July 1, 2010, the Legislature repealed the 3 separateOpen Meeting laws (state, county, local), and enacted a newconsolidated statute applicable to all government levels. MGL c.30A, §18–25. The Attorney General now interprets and enforces the OML. The AG’s Division of Open Government (“DOG”) administers theOML. Remote Participation Emergency Regulation Issued May 25, 2012(In effect until August 22, 2012)
Remote ParticipationRe m o te Participatio n m ay be allo we d subje ct to pro ce dure s &re strictio ns. The se include :• May be approved by Mayor, Select Board, Town Council• May be revoked by Mayor, Select Board, Town Council• Adopting body may impose additional regulations thatrestrict use of remote participation. (Emergency regulation5.25.12 – 8.22.12)• A quorum must be physically present at the meeting site• Members participating remotely and all present at meetinglocation must be audible to each other• Remote members may vote and shall not be deemed“absent”
Remote Participation (Continued)• The Chair must determine that one or more of the following factorsmake physical attendance unreasonably difficult:Personal illness Personal disabilityEmergency Military serviceGeographic distance• Technology – the following media are acceptable:telephone, internet, satellite enabled audio orvideo conferencing,or any othertechnology that allows remote participants & allpersons present to heareach other.• With video technology, the remote participants must be visible to allpersons present at meeting location.
Remote Participation (Continued) The Public Body determines which of the remote technology maybe used. The Chair decides technical difficulty issues. Meeting suspension isencouraged. If connection is lost, meeting minutes must reflect thatfact and time of occurrence. Chair must announce use of remote technology, member using it,and reason for its use. All votes must be roll call votes. Remote members may participate in executive session but muststate that no one else is present or able to listen in.
“Intentional Violation” Attorney General has proposed new language tostrengthen the “Intentional Violation” section of the OML.“Intentional Violation means an act or omission by a public body or amember thereof, that knowingly violates M.G.L. c30A, sec. 18-25.Conduct in violation of … (this section) shall be considered evidence ofan intentional violation where the public body or … m e m be r acte d withspe cific inte nt to vio late the law; acte d with de libe rate ig no rance o f thelaw’s re q uire m e nts; or was previously informed by receipt of a decisionby from a court of competent jurisdiction or advised by the AttorneyGeneral, … that the conduct violates … (such section). Whe re a publicbo dy o r m e m be r has m ade a g o o d faith atte m pt at co m pliance with thelaw but was re aso nably m istake n abo ut its re q uire m e nts, o r acte d ing o o d faith co m pliance with the advice o f the bo dy’s le g alco unse l, suchco nduct willno t be co nside re d an inte ntio nalvio latio n… ”(NOTE: potential $1000 fine)
OML Resources AG’s Open Meeting Law Website:http://www.mass.gov/ago/openmeeting Open Meeting Law: MGL c. 30A, §18-25 Code of Massachusetts Regulations, 940 CMR 29.00 Office of the Attorney GeneralDivision of Open GovernmentOne Ashburton PlaceBoston, MA 02108(617) 963-2540Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ethics CommissionEthics Commission has proposed amendments regarding: Accepting gifts < $50 – disclosure may be required Paid travel – distinction between travel/expense paid by domesticentity and foreign entity (disclosure) Event attendance – attendance at legitimate event where some/allexpenses paid/waived requires prior written authorization fromappointing authority on standard State form. Ceremonial gift/privilege – may accept ceremonial gift/privilege fromsponsor/organizer of event if such is not a lobbyist and you performan action related to the event Retirement gifts – gifts received prior to retirement ok as long asthey are not from a lobbyist
Ethics Commission- Resources Ethics Commission Websitewww.mass.gov/ethics Contact Information: State Ethics CommissionOne Ashburton Place, Room 619Boston, MA 02108Phone (617) 371-9500Fax (617) 723-5851 Attorney of the Day(617) 371-9500