ARTICLE X – CODE OF ETHICS
a. Among BARA's most important assets is the historical trust placed in the organization by members of the community, both LGBTQ and straight. This Code of Ethics defines the standards the organization will operate under so as to preserve this trust.
b. This Code of Ethics applies to the Board of Directors of SYOL, Inc., known popularly as, The Binghamton Area Rainbow Association (BARA), to the directors of all organizations directly sponsored by or serving under BARA, such as The Rainbow Center, and to those who have been elected or appointed to represent the Board of Directors of BARA or its sponsored organizations.
2. Definitions And Applicability
a. Throughout this document the term "Representative" will be used to indicate any person holding elective or appointive position in BARA, including BARA sponsored organizations, or any of its committees and subcommittees.
b. Each Representative who establishes policy for or works on behalf of the members of The Binghamton Area Rainbow Association is a custodian entrusted with organization's assets, including, but not limited to its good reputation.
c. Therefore, all Representatives of The Binghamton Area Rainbow Association shall acknowledge and commit to observing a high standard of ethics and conduct as they devote their best efforts, skills and resources in the interest of The Binghamton Area Rainbow Association and its members. Representatives shall perform their duties in such a manner so as to conserve and enhance members' confidence and trust in the integrity, objectivity and impartiality of The Binghamton Area Rainbow Association. To do otherwise would be a breach of the trust, which the membership has bestowed upon each Representative.
3. General Ethical Considerations
a. BARA's Representatives shall hold the betterment of the membership of BARA as their priority, including during all participation in discussions and voting matters.
b. BARA's Representatives shall recognize their obligation to act in a manner which will bear the closest public scrutiny.
c. BARA's Representatives shall follow the guidelines of BARA's diversity policies, specifically:
i. BARA celebrates diversity and welcomes all people of good will, regardless of sexual orientation, race, color, creed, national origin, age, gender, ability, or economic status.
ii. BARA will attempt to limit itself to contracting only with those who have a Diversity Policy similar to our own. To the extent that a bidder for a contract actually discriminates against persons based on sexual orientation, race, color, creed, national origin, age, gender, ability, or economic status, such bidder shall not be considered "responsible" for purposes of accepting the bid.
d. BARA's Representatives shall contribute any suggestions of ways to improve BARA's policies, standards, practices or ethics and keep an eye open to the needs of the LGBTQ Community and its friends and how those can better be served by BARA than is currently the practice.
e. BARA's Representatives shall not abuse their position by suggesting to any BARA member that they are entitled to or expect any special treatment beyond that afforded to any other member of the organization.
f. BARA's Representatives shall declare any conflict of interest, be it real, potential, or apparent, which is not immediately obvious with regard to any matter being discussed in the presence of such Representative during a meeting.
g. BARA's Representatives shall accept the Board's request to refrain from participating in a discussion and upon request leave the meeting if the Board decides at any time during a meeting that a conflict exists. In such cases the Board's decision shall be recorded in the minutes, either with or without the reasons for the decision being also recorded.
h. BARA's Representatives shall understand that the following activities are considered by BARA to be conflicts of interest, and that conflicts of interest are not limited to the following situations:
i. Where a decision or an act is motivated by other or additional considerations than "the best interests of the organization".
ii. Where Representatives personally do business with BARA or where they serve in other organizations, which are conducting business with BARA without disclosing such additional affiliation to the BARA Board. However, nothing in this paragraph shall limit or discourage persons from donating goods or services to BARA, getting receipts from BARA therefor, and receiving favorable income tax treatment therefor.
iii. Where Representatives learn of an opportunity for profit, which may be valuable to them personally or to another organization of which they are members, or to other persons known to them and such opportunity is not disclosed to the BARA Board.
iv. Where Representatives, in any circumstance as related to the organization, put their personal interests in potential conflict with the best interests of BARA.
i. BARA's Representatives shall not knowingly take advantage of or benefit from information that is obtained in the course of their official duties and responsibilities.
j. BARA's Representatives shall remain alert to information, which BARA can use to develop improved policies and strategies.
k. BARA's Representatives shall protect information held by BARA and shall not release or share confidential information without the permission, preferably in writing, of the person who provided it.
l. BARA's Representatives shall maintain confidentiality of all information, which the Board deems ought to be kept confidential.
m. BARA's Representatives shall maintain as confidential information anything regarding the sexual or gender orientation of any person who is in any manner whatsoever associated with BARA, including, but not limited to such person's association with BARA, unless such person has unequivocally demonstrated that such person does not consider such information to be confidential.
a. BARA's Representatives shall be mindful of resources, which are in their trust on behalf of the organization, and will help establish policies, which ensure the maximization of secure and protected resources.
b. BARA's Representatives shall expect to be reimbursed for legitimate expenses incurred while conducting their duties, and keep all such expenses reasonable and justifiable.
c. BARA's Representatives shall discuss expenses, which may be in question with the organization's President or Treasurer.
d. It is against the policy of BARA for Representatives to accept personal gifts, favors, or benefits, from actual or potential vendors or business contacts. Promotional handouts valued at less than an aggregate value in any given year of $50.00 may be accepted.
e. Offers of gifts or benefits of a larger value may be accepted in the name of BARA. The value of such gifts shall become part of BARA's general fund.
f. BARA's Representatives shall not routinely accept the hospitality of others. For example, when meals are taken with business colleagues, Representatives shall pay for as many meals as do their colleagues.
g. BARA's Representatives shall take care to preserve and enhance BARA's good reputation and will avoid behavior, which might damage BARA's image while acting on behalf of BARA informally and formally with other associations, societies, government officials, and business Representatives.
5. Application And Enforcement
a. The BARA Secretary shall ensure that the files of the organization have within them signed statements from all seated Elected Officers whereby such Officers take upon themselves the obligations of this Policy. The Secretary shall also accept for filing statements by any other Representative who wishes to file a statement adhering to this Policy. Refusal by any Director to sign such a statement and file it with the Secretary will be considered cause for removal under Bylaws Article IV, §5.
b. The form of Statement of Adherence shall be a reprint of this Article of the Bylaws, with the following statement appearing at the bottom for dated signature by the Representative:
Signed acknowledgment of this policy is mandatory for BARA Officers and optional for all other persons.
Signature of Board Member or Nominee
c. The BARA Secretary shall ensure that all persons who become Representatives under this Policy, including persons who were in Representative capacities prior to the promulgation of this policy and continue in such capacity at the time of promulgation receive a copy of this Policy as expeditiously as possible.
d. The BARA President shall ensure that the practice of this policy will be fair, just, and equitable in all situations of interpretation and application.
e. The BARA President shall ultimately be responsible for immediate interpretation, application and enforcement of BARA's ethics policy.
i. All complaints concerning a possible Code of Ethics violation shall be made in writing to or by the President with a copy provided to the person accused of violating the Ethics Policy ("The Accused").
ii. The President shall make an initial determination of the issue and shall attempt initial resolution of the problem with the complainer and the Accused.
iii. If this initial attempt at resolution is not successful, the President shall appoint a tribunal composed of three Board members to investigate the complaint. If the complaint is against so many Board members as to render it impossible to appoint an impartial tribunal from the Board membership, the President may appoint to the tribunal persons who are not on the Board, including but not limited to persons who are not members of BARA. The tribunal is required to investigate as required and submit a written report to the President within 30 days. The President will render a decision within ten days of receiving the tribunal's report.
iv. The President's decision may be appealed in writing to the Board of Directors for consideration during the Board's next regular scheduled meeting for a final decision. The final decision shall be delivered in writing to the complainer and Accused.
f. Should the President be the subject of a written complaint, the Vice President shall perform the duties normally assigned to the President in this matter.
g. Penalties imposed for breach of the Code of Ethics may include, but are not limited to, the following:
i. Excluding the Accused from portions of all future meetings and discussions which relate to the stated conflict of interest, and/or
ii. Censure of the Accused, in private, in public, or both, and/or
iii. Removal of the Accused from office or committee position by a resolution passed by a vote of two-thirds of the members voting at an annual or special general meeting of BARA's members, provided that notice of such a proposed resolution is given with the notice calling the meeting.