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 restrict village trustee or city council member attempts to obtain a paid employment position with the municipality during their term of office.

First, to avoid violating the state ethics code for local government officials, a governing body member should resign prior to applying for any paid employment position with his or her municipality 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. § 19.59(1)(a).

Second, Wis. Stat. § 66.0501(2) prohibits a governing body member from being appointed to a position that was created during the official's term of office regardless of whether they resign from the governing body first.

Third, to avoid committing a Class I felony, a governing body member should resign before applying (informally or formally) for a position with their municipality that pays more than $15,000 in a calendar year since any 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. § 946.13(1)(a). See Pecuniary Interest 386, 383, and 363.

(rev. 7/19)