Cyprus Mail
Property

Code of ethics in Local Self-Government

Nicosia Municipality

The reform of local self-government in Cyprus is necessary and one of its objectives should be the establishment of a regulatory code of ethics and standards of behaviour of the elected representatives. Citizens are entitled to be informed of the expected level of behaviour of elected local officials, who ought to serve the interest of the public and the local authority and not the direct or indirect personal or private interest of any other individual for personal gain. The local representatives should function carefully, fairly, impartially, with transparency and integrity, avoiding favouritism and they should be responsible for their actions and decisions. Within the aforesaid framework they shouldn’t be influenced by third persons to not exercise their duties and their responsibilities and if they are approached for such purpose, they should immediately inform the local authority concerned. They are expected to participate in the meetings of the council and devote time and attention to the work of the local authority. The representatives elected should perform their duties to the best of their ability, wisely, impartially and conscientiously.

It is the duty of elected local officials during the decision making to remain impartial so their suggestions and recommendations are based on full consideration of the relative facts and circumstances, taking into account elements demonstrating proportionality, truth and compliance with public interest. Behaviours which may harm their reputation or the reputation of the officer of other representatives should be avoided, as well as the participation or association with organisations, the aims of which contradict those of the local authority. They have the duty to declare in writing any direct or indirect personal interest in matters discussed and decided by the local authority before the commencement of any such discussion and decision making. When elected, they are obliged to abstain from participating in any political activities or to hold any political position which may hinder them from executing their duties as elected representatives or are incompatible with their office. When taking office or where necessary, they should state in writing any position they hold or any participation or relation in business activities which may create conflict of interest. Furthermore, they are obliged not to disclose or take advantage or benefit from any confidential information or documents they have access to during the exercise of their official responsibilities not available to the public.

Compliance with financial discipline within the framework of the approved expenditure constitutes an obligation of the local representatives to ensure the proper management of the public funds of the local authority. Consequently, they shouldn’t allow the misuse of public funds and grants and abstain from their use for direct or indirect personal needs. Accountability and transparency should be reflected in all tenders for the purchase of goods and services and their adjudication.

Local representatives are expected to show respect towards the personnel of the local authority and to avoid asking them to act in a manner giving them direct or indirect personal advantage, as well as to avoid any behaviour which may cause grievance or unnecessary inconvenience to any staff member. During the meetings of the council, they have the duty to show respect towards their colleagues and to adopt a constructive and conciliatory attitude, complying at the same time with the law and regulations. Following the above, it is imperative to establish a council or a committee in the local authorities to deal with breaches of the code of ethics with the right to give the necessary recommendations and in the event of repeated breach of the code, the committee to publish the names of the representatives who are in breach and impose any sanctions allowed by the law.

George Coucounis is a lawyer specialising in the Immovable Property Law, based in Larnaca, Tel: 24 818288, [email protected], www.coucounislaw.com

 


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