You are here

Home » Resources » Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

The Executive Ethics Board staff encourages questions. Many of the questions we receive are the same. We’ve developed a list of the most frequently asked questions as a way to assist you with yours. If you do not see your question, please contact us.

Answer:

Yes. The retirement account as well as the Deferred Compensation package are part of your benefits as a state employee. Accessing them occasionally will not violate the Ethics in Public Service Act.

Answer:

You may keep the flowers only if you can establish that you and the customer had a friendship outside of work.

Answer:

If the rate is offered to all government employees, whether or not they are on official business, then yes. If the hotel requires you to be on official business, then you cannot accept the government rate. To do so would be to use your official position to secure a special privilege.

Answer:

Many agencies block private email sites from access on a state computer. If your agency does not block access, check with them for any policy they may have.

Answer:

Using your IPhone for personal reasons beyond the de minimis standard is not acceptable. Reimbursement is a mitigating factor, but does not cure the violation.

Answer:

There are several things you can do. First, you can confront the employee and let them know that they are violating the law. You can also notify the employee’s supervisor and let them deal with the situation. You can file a complaint with the state auditor under the Whistleblower Act, and finally, you can file a complaint with the Executive Ethics Board.

Answer:

State agencies aren’t regulated by the gift statute, so if the gift was truly given to the agency, the ethics law does not apply. However, if the gift was given to an individual, that person may or may not be able to keep it depending on the relationship to the giver (ie: a section 4 relationship.)

Answer:

The Ethics in Public Service act prohibits using state resources for private gain. While agency heads may deem soliciting for a specific charity is 'organizational effectiveness', it is not possible to support all of our own pet charities.

Answer:

That depends. Assuming that the door prize was offered to all attendees, then if your attendance at the conference was paid by your agency, the prize belongs to the agency. If you paid your own way to the conference, then you may keep the prize.

Answer:

While these terms have not been formally defined, staff has interpreted them to mean just that: the use is no more than once a day and lasts a few minutes, so long as there is no disruption to your work or to the work of others.

Answer:

So long as the use is brief, infrequent, of little or no cost to the state, is not disruptive, does not support a private business and does not support or oppose candidates or ballot issues, the Board has said that a 'de minimis' use of state resources would not violate the ethics law.

Answer:

No. To use the internet radio takes up a bandwidth, and goes beyond a de minimis use.

Answer:

You may be able to, if it falls within 'organizational effectiveness.' That means that the agency head has approved the activity and acknowledges that it relates to an agency’s mission and encompasses activities that enhance or augment the agency’s ability to perform its mission. The Board recognizes that state agencies may allow employees to participate in activities that are not official state duties but promote organizational effectiveness by supporting a collegial work environment.

Answer:

Not necessarily. If other organizations want to come in and hold a similar event, the agency must allow them to do so. Otherwise, a special privilege has been given to the Red Cross.