Since enacted in 1985 the Combined Fund Drive (CFD) has provided an extraordinary means through which state employees can individually and collectively direct their charitable efforts. Sanctioned by legislation and organized at the agency level, the CFD is intended to accomplish the following goals:
- lessen burdens of meeting the needs of human health and welfare;
- provide a convenient channel through which state employees may contribute;
- minimize disruption of the state work place and thus costs to taxpayers; and
- ensure agencies are fiscally responsible in using the money raised.
To minimize work place disruption, each agency appoints one or more CFD coordinators to lead and supervise the agency’s efforts.
The Ethics in Public Service Act (Act) specifically recognizes that use of state resources to benefit others where doing so is part of the employee’s official duties is not a violation of the act.
Further, the Executive Ethics Board (Board) has held that since the CFD is official state business, activities of CFD coordinators, related to the CFD, are official duties and thus, CFD coordinators are not violating the act when using state resources in carrying out their CFD duties. There is one caveat – the board cautions that there is a limit however, and cautioned the amount of state resources that may be devoted to the drive is a matter left to the discretion of each agency.
Further, there is a distinction between those employees, such as CFD Coordinators assigned by the agency to conduct the CFD, and those, like most of us who participate and contribute, but who are not assigned to coordinate. While CFD Coordinators are expected to expend much greater effort, those who are not are required to adhere to the de minimis rule even when involved in CFD activities.