Yes! While times have changed the way we do business and where we might be working, the Ethics in Public Service Act still applies to you. This means, for example, you are still accountable for your time and the state resources (e.g. state computer) given to you by your agency to do your job away from the worksite. State resources remain state resources regardless of where they are used.
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.
Honorarium is specifically defined in the Ethics in Public Service Act as money (or thing of value) given to the state employee for "a speech, appearance, article, or similar item or activity in connection with the state employee's official role." You can ONLY accept honorarium if your agency has a policy that allows for such.
Although it's tempting to have personal mail and packages delivered to your workplace, especially during the holidays, state employees are never allowed to use the state mail system for personal use. Not only is this an inappropriate use of state resources and perhaps a special privilege, First Class mail with a tracking number has a per piece cost associated with it that is charged back to your agency.
All funds received by the Board as a result of agreed Stipulations, Hearings and Final Orders are deposited into the state's General Fund.
No! Gambling in state offices is illegal.
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.
See the de minimis use rule and guidance.
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.
You may keep the flowers only if you can establish that you and the customer had a friendship outside of work.
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.
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.
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.
You may keep promotional items of nominal value, even if from a vendor with whom you contract.
Items such as pens, note pads, refrigerator magnets and the like.
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 and such use is contained in a Board approved policy. 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.
No. To use the internet radio takes up a bandwidth, and goes beyond a de minimis use.
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, organization or group, the Board has said that a 'de minimis' use of state resources would not violate the ethics law.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
Yes. The retirement account as well as the Deferred Compensation package are part of your benefits as a state employee. Accessing them will not violate the Ethics in Public Service Act.