Pecuniary Interest FAQ 3

Are there limitations on governing body members seeking a paid position with their municipality during their term of office?

Yes. Three key statutes either prohibit or circumscribe village trustee or city council member attempts to obtain a paid position with the municipality during that member’s term of office.

First, to avoid violating the state ethics code for local government officials, a governing body member must consider the need to resign prior to applying for any paid position with his village or city since application for paid employment may reasonably be found to be "using their public position or office to obtain financial gain or anything of substantial value for the private benefit of the official . . ." contrary to Wis. Stat. sec. 19.59(1)(a).

Second, Wis. Stat. sec. 66.0501(2) prohibits a governing body member from being appointed to a position that was created during the official's term of office irrespective of any resignation from the board or council.

Third, to avoid committing a Class E felony, a governing body member must resign before applying (informally or formally) for a position with the village or city that pays more than $15,000 since pre-resignation discussion or submission of an application for such employment may constitute "negotiating" or "bidding" for a contract under circumstances proscribed by Wis. Stat. sec. 946.13(1)(a). See Pecuniary Interest 386, 383, and 363.2.