Updated Vermont code of ethics kicks in

By Brent Addleman | The Center Square

Public servants in Vermont are now being held to a strict code of ethics, a new report shows.

Vermont, Multistate reports, codified Senate Bill 171 in May, which took effect in July, outlining the basic requirements pertaining to gifts and revolving door restrictions while at the same time guiding public servants away from conflicts of interest.

The Vermont State Ethics Commission, according to the report, will review ethics violations allegations. The allegations, if founded, would be referred to the state agency where the public servant is employed for a full investigation.

Adopting the code, according to the release, leaves only four states that do not have a code of ethics. New Hampshire, Idaho, Wyoming, and Arizona are without such protocol.

Under Vermont’s new code of ethics, according to the release, standards are set for unethical conduct, preferential treatment, misuse of position, information, and government resources, and gift limitations and exceptions.

While the state enacted legislation creating the state’s Ethics Commission in 2017, the commission, according to the report, did not have any investigative or enforcement power. Two years ago, according to the report, state officials, led by Gov. Phil Scott, worked to create the enforcement of the code.

According to the report, public servants are not permitted to accept or solicit gifts, unless permitted by the code, and is defined as “anything of value, tangible or intangible, that is given for less than adequate consideration.” In addition, ceremonial awards are not to exceed $100, including food and beverages.

Under the legislation, according to the report, public servants will be required to take ethics training classes within four months of accepting a position and retake training classes every three years.

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One thought on “Updated Vermont code of ethics kicks in

  1. The new legislation.

    “(3) As used in this section, “conflict of interest” means a direct or
    indirect interest of a public servant or such an interest, known to the public
    servant, of a member of the public servant’s immediate family or household, or
    of a business associate, in the outcome of a particular matter pending before
    the public servant or the public servant’s public body, or that is in conflict with
    the proper discharge of the public servant’s duties. “Conflict of interest” does
    not include any interest that is not greater than that of other individuals
    generally affected by the outcome of a matter.”

    I repeat: the new legislation says: “Conflict of interest” does not include any interest that is not greater than that of other individuals generally affected by the outcome of a matter.”

    With this total absence of detail and specificity by our legislators, is it any wonder we’re subject to their unabashed cronyism?

    I mean, really now. They actually would have been just as effective had they simple wrote ‘blah, blah, blah’ into the new act.

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