Avoiding Conflict of Interest
By resolution, the Board of Regents requires that all UW-System Faculty and Academic Staff report annually on outside activities and interests related to their areas of professional responsibility and for which they receive remuneration as specified in the resolution. Relatedly, all state employees are subject to the code of ethics detailed in Chapter ER-MRS 24, which provides "guidance of employees to avoid activities which cause, or tend to cause, conflicts between their personal interests and their public responsibilities."
This notice excerpts selected portions of the relevant chapter and serves as a reminder to all.
ER-MRS 24.04 Standards of conduct. This chapter shall not prevent an employee from accepting outside employment or following a pursuit which in no way interferes or conflicts with the full and faithful discharge of his or her duties to this state, subject to the following:
(1) A conflict of interest on the part of a state employee exists whenever:
(a) The employee's action or failure to act propitiously could reasonably be expected to directly or indirectly produce or assist in producing a private benefit for the employee or the employee's immediate family or an organization with which the employee is associated; or
(b) The matter is one in which the employee in his or her private capacity or a member of the employee's immediate family or an organization with which the employee is associated, as defined in s. ER-Pers 24.03 (3), has a substantial interest.
(2)(a) No employee may use or attempt to use his or her public position or state property, including property leased by this state, or use the prestige or influence of a state position to influence or gain financial or other benefits, advantages or privileges for the private benefit of the employee, the employee's immediate family or an organization with which the employee is associated.
(2)(b) No employee may solicit or accept from any person or organization, directly or indirectly, money or anything of value if it could reasonably be expected to influence such employee's official actions or judgment, or could reasonably be considered as a reward for any official action or inaction on the part of such employee.
(2)3(c) No employee may intentionally use or disclose information gained in the course of or by reason of the employee's official position or activities in any way that could result in the receipt of anything of value for himself or herself, for his or her immediate family, or for any other person or organization, if the information has not been communicated to the public or is not public information. However, no reprisal may be taken against an employee for the lawful disclosure of information which the employee reasonably believes evidences:
1. A violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or
2. Mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, enforcement of unreasonable agency work rules, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
(2)3(d) No employee, member of an employee's immediate family, nor any organization with which the employee or a member of the employ's immediate family owns or controls at least 10% of the outstanding equity, voting rights, or outstanding indebtedness may enter into any contract or lease involving payment or payments of more than $3,000.00 within a 12 month period, in whole or in part derived from state funds unless the employee has first made written disclosure of the nature and extent of such relationship or interest to the appointing authority of the agency with which the employee is associated and obtained the appointing authority's written approval. The appointing authority shall approve an employee's interest in a lease or contract unless he or she determines that the employee's personal interest in the agreement will conflict substantially and materially with the employee's discharge of his or her public responsibilities. The paragraph does not effect the application of s.946.13, Stats.
(2)3(e) An employee may recommend or decide to hire or promote another person for a permanent, seasonal or sessional position when the person affected is a member of the employee's immediate family, if that person has been certified from an open or competitive promotional register. No employee may recommend or make a limited term or project appointment when the person to be hired is a member of the employee's immediate family.
(2)3(f) No employee shall give preferential or favored treatment in the supervision or management of another employee who is a member of his or her immediate family.
ER-MRS 24.05 Action to avoid possible conflict.(1) Any state employee who, in the discharge of his or her official duties, is involved or about to be involved in any matter that could result in a conflict of interest on his or her part, shall so notify his or her appointing authority by submitting a written statement describing the matter requiring action or decision, and the nature of the possible conflict of interest with respect to such action or decision.
The Chancellor is the appointing authority for the University and appointing authority has been delegated to the Vice Chancellor and Director of Human Resources. Questions regarding conflict of interest should be addressed to one of these persons.