Policy GBEA: Code of Conduct for Public Employees

In compliance with State and Federal Procurement Codes, the school committees adopt the following “Code of Conduct for Public Employees.” This code, developed by the Office of the Inspector General, establishes standards of conduct for all employees involved in the award or administration of contracts for goods and services.

The Massachusetts conflict of interest law, Chapter 268A of the General Laws, prohibits public employees from soliciting or accepting gratuities of substantial value for, or because of, their official duties. This Code of Conduct supplements the conflict of interest law by setting standards of conduct for all employees with respect to relationships with individuals and entities with whom we conduct our official business. The purpose of this Code is to preserve the integrity of these relationships and to maintain the highest level of public confidence in the impartial performance of our duties.

I. GIFTS AND GRATUITIES

School personnel may not solicit or accept any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan, or other item of monetary value from a person, public agency, or private entity who has had, has, or is seeking to obtain contractual or other business or financial relations with the schools; who conducts or is seeking to conduct business or other activities which are regulated or monitored by the schools; or who has interests that may be or may give the reasonable impression of being substantially affected by the performance or non-performance of their official duties.

Exceptions:
a. You may accept gifts in cases involving a family or personal relationship when the circumstances make clear that the relationship is the motivation for the gift.
b. You may accept non-alcoholic beverages from public or private entities; and accept food and beverages at seasonal or celebratory functions hosted by the public entities.
c. You may accept food and beverages in connection with attendance at working meetings held in the office of a public entity; or at widely attended meetings or gatherings held by a private trade or professional association in an office or other business setting when you are attending the meeting in your official capacity for informational, educational, or other similar purposes.
d. You may accept unsolicited advertising or promotional materials of nominal value.

II. TRAVEL EXPENSES AND HONORARIA

School Personnel may not accept reimbursement for travel expenses from a person or entity which falls within the scope of Section I above. If you deliver a speech or participate in a conference or travel as a necessary component of a vendor evaluation process, the School department may elect to accept reimbursement from the sponsor or vendor for actual and necessary travel expenses. In this case, the School department will reimburse you in accordance with its travel policy and bill the sponsor or vendor for the appropriate amount.

School personnel may accept honoraria or other monetary compensation from an outside source in return for a public appearance, speech, lecture, publication, or discussion only if all of the following conditions are met:

a. Preparation or delivery of the public appearance, speech, lecture, publication, or discussion is not part of your official duties.
b. Neither the sponsor nor the source of the honorarium is a person or entity which falls within the scope of Section I above.
c. You do not use school supplies or take office time in preparation or delivery of the public appearance, speech, lecture, publication, or discussion.

School personnel may, however, accept awards, certificates, or other items of nominal value given for a speech, participation in a conference, or public contribution or achievement.

III. TESTIMONIALS AND RETIREMENT FUNCTIONS

School personnel may not solicit contributions, sell tickets, or otherwise seek or accept payment for a testimonial or retirement function, or any function having a similar purpose, held for any employee if the contributor is a person or entity which falls under Section I above and the payment exceeds the actual per-person cost of food and beverages served at the function.

School personnel may not accept food, beverages, or gifts at any testimonial or retirement function, or any function having a similar purpose if their costs are paid for or subsidized by a person or entity which falls under Section I above.

IV. GROUNDBREAKING AND DEDICATION CEREMONIES

School personnel may not request or require any person or entity which falls under Section I above to sponsor or contribute to any groundbreaking ceremony, dedication ceremony, or similar occasion involving a public works project if they are paid for or subsidized by a person or entity which falls under Section I above.

LEGAL REF:

MGL 71:37h , 264:11 , 264:14

Region Voted to Approve:
Amherst Voted to Approve:
Pelham Voted to Approve:
Effective Date:
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