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Sportsman For "Code of ethics Policy" in Tennessee
Petition Background (Preamble):
Whereas: We, the Undersigned , do hereby agree in principle to the context of the need for a "Code of Ethics" policy in Tenn. Regarding TWRA's Wild Life Officers. The intent of this petition is to help restore credibility to the Wild Life agency's Officers and to help eliminate what we the undersigned have witnessed or believe to be wide spread "questionable activities" or "UnEthical Practices" on the part of some TWRA Wild Life officers in Tennessee, especially in Western Counties.
We, the undersigned, present this Petition to you, our State's Legislatures, in a effort to bring the issue of this on-going problem to your attention. We also are providing some specific examples of what those problems and issues are which hopefully will persuade and encourage you to support this need for creation and passage of legislation requiring the TWRA to adopt and enforce a clear and simple "Code of Ethics Policy" for the Agency's Wild Life Officers.
We, the undersigned believe Tennessee needs a basic "Code of Ethics Policy", one that will help restore credibility and respect to the Wild Life Officer Positions in our Counties and across the Great State of Tennessee. We believe before that goal can be accomplished, Tennessee must adopt legislation that will govern and control these TWRA officers similarly to those policy's we find on the Books of most other States across America. We are including the State of Texas Code of Ethics Policy which we believe is the best example Tennessee should model it's policy after.
1.Statement of Fact: Due to the apparent absence of any "Code of Ethics" Policy for TWRA Wild Life Officers in Tennessee, We, the Undersigned, have either experienced first hand impacts or have direct or indirect knowledge of facts that suggest such unethical behavior and activities as listed in this petition exist today within the TWR Agency and are routinely practiced by some TWRA Officers across the State of Tennessee. We agree with the principle and intent contained within this Petition.
By signing on to this petition, we encourage you to introduce or support passage of legislation which will adopt a "Code of Ethics" Policy in Tennessee similar to those found in most other States. We believe this legislation will go a long way toward restoring some of the credibility and respect to the Position of Wild Life Officer in the State of Tennessee.
"Code of Ethics Policy"
PART I. STANDARDS OF CONDUCT AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST
We believe the Tenn. Legislature should adopt or insist the TWRC adopt the following type Ethics standards.
Wild Life Officers and Other Similar State employees In Tennessee should not be permitted to:
1. Accept or solicit: Gift's, favor's, special prevelidges not available to the private citizens or any other services or benifits that might reasonably tend to influence or buy favor with the officer or employee, including the possible discharge of certain official duties, regardless if the officer or employee knows it's being offered with the intent to influence his or her official conduct or duties;
2. Accept other employment, special previdledges, part time work or engage in a business or professional activity that the officer or employee might reasonably expect would require or induce the officer or employee to disclose confidential information acquired by reason of the official position they hold;
3. Accept other employment, special previdledges, part time work or compensation that could reasonably be expected to impair or compromise the officer's or employee's independence of judgment in the performance of the officer's or employee's official or normal duties;
4. Make personal investments, conduct business or provide services that could reasonably be expected to create a "Conflict of interest" between the officer's or employee's personal or private interest and the public's interest.
5. To intentionally or knowingly solicit, accept, or agree to accept any benefit or any special prevlidges for exercising or providing any service in favor of one individual over another.
PART II. ACCEPTANCE OF GRATUITIES
The States "Code of Ethics" Policy should prohibit all public servants from accepting certain gifts or benefits that could be considered as Bribery, Honoraria ,gratuity or Special favors and violations of which should carry some form of criminal penalty or disciplinary action, up to separation of employment.
Bribery: As public servants they shall be considered committing the offense of bribery if they shall solicit, offer, or accept a "benefit" in exchange for their decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other exercises of official discretion that normally would be considered
"unethical" or inappropriate.
Common sense should tell them if something is a bribe or of such nature as those described and If they are not sure one way or the other, the basic policy shall be, If it's not equally available to the general Public, "don't take it or don't do it".
Honoraria: You may not solicit, agree to accept, or accept an honorarium in consideration for services you would not have been asked to provide the general public as part of your official position. Thus, for example, you shall not patrol (unless Property is marked and posted in accordance with Tenn. State Standards for written permission requirements or manage properties (Hunting or fishing rights)for anyone. another example is; you may not take a speaker's fee for speaking if your position with the state is one of the reasons you were asked to speak. If a state officer or the executive head of an agency accepts food, transportation, or lodging under these circumstances, the officer must report it as Part of the annual personal financial statement. (A travel regulation provides that a state employee may not accept money for a travel expense reimbursement from a person that the
employee's employing state agency intends to audit, examine, or investigate or is auditing, examining, or investigating.
*If it's anything that normally would be considered "unethical" or "inappropriate", Common sense should tell the officers not to do it or accept it when they are not sure one way or the other, the policy is: "don't take it or don't do it".
Special favors and Gifts:
Most public servants are subject to one or more prohibitions on the acceptance of "Gifts or Benefits" from persons subject to them in their jurisdiction. For example, a Wild Life Officer in the TWR Agency who performs regulatory functions or conducts inspections or investigations should not be permitted to accept gifts or special benefits and favors from any person whom that Wild Life Officer "knows to be subject to regulations, inspections or investigations by him or his agency.
(a). Similarly, a TWRA Officer who "exercises discretion in connection with contracts, purchases, payments, claims, or other pecuniary transactions" of the agency may not accept a gift, benefit or special favor from a person the Officer knows is interested in or likely to become interested in such a
d) These prohibitions should apply regardless of whether the donor or provider is asking for something in return or not..
The statutory definition of "benefits and special favors" are anything reasonably regarded as pecuniary gains or pecuniary advantages. The Code of Ethics Policy should contain, but not be limited to , the following gifts as being considered to be "benefits" or "special favors" and they should be required disclosures as Part of the officers or employee's annual personal financial statements:
* Gifts or Gift Certificates with a value of $ 25. Or greater, to include but not be limited to, hotel rooms/lodging expenses, hunting or fishing trips, Leasing of Hunting or Fishing rights for personal use, monetary gain or to be used in a way that circumvents state law requiring Property owners involvement in the legal process, acceptance of sporting event tickets, rifles, shotguns or handguns for personal use or for possible monetary gain, all of which shall be considered "benefits" or
"Special Favors" when they involve the possibility of an exchange for services or special privileges
where Wild Life Officers are involved.
The Sportsman For "Code of ethics Policy" in Tennessee petition to Tennessee State Legleslature was written by Lee Hill and is in the category Law Reform at GoPetition. Contact author here. Petition tags: policy, officer, ethics, officers, state, tennessee, accept, special, employee, agency, petition, favors, considered, personal, public, believe, gifts, benefits, official, undersigned, reasonably, adopt, legislation, unethi