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Conflicts of Interest
“Borough council members should be very careful to avoid the possibility of conflict between their personal and private interests and their role as a public officer. The Public Official and Employee Ethics Act (POEEA) states that the people have a right to be assured the financial interests of public officers do not conflict with the public trust.
“In any issue brought before council where an individual member has a conflict of interest, or there is an appearance of a conflict of interest, that council member should refrain from voting on the issue. Pennsylvania courts have long upheld as a fundamental public policy principle the rule that members of a governmental body cannot vote on any matter where they have a direct personal interest.”
“Although members are prohibited from voting on any issue where there is a personal conflict of interest, they sometimes abstain from voting on issues where they have no personal interest. Local government is based on the concept of representative democracy. Governing body members are elected to represent their constituents in making decisions for the community. Refusing to vote because a matter is contentious or may cause personal resentments is not acceptable. Members refusing to vote are violating their sworn duty to represent the voters in helping to decide matters before the
There are three general types of contracts a municipality may enter into: a negotiated contract, a competitive bid contract and a contract for professional services. The Borough Code requires at least three written or telephone price quotations for contracts in excess of $10,000. A written record of the price quotes must be made and retained on file for three years. Informal price quotes are not required for purchases below $10,000, but are a sound business practice.
The third type of contract is for professional services. Regardless of the cost, professional services contracts are not required to be obtained through competitive bidding, although it is best to interview a number of applicants or entertain a number of proposals for professional services.