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Doing Things Right: Ethical Considerations in Government Service Hale Hawbecker, DOI Ethics Office Nancy Baumgartner, USGS Ethics Office DOI Annual Business Conference, May 2006 Ethics training goals Raise awareness of ethics issues

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doing things right ethical considerations in government service

Doing Things Right: Ethical Considerations in Government Service

Hale Hawbecker, DOI Ethics Office

Nancy Baumgartner, USGS Ethics Office

DOI Annual Business Conference, May 2006

ethics training goals
Ethics training goals
  • Raise awareness of ethics issues
  • Explain criminal ethics statutes and standards of conduct regulations
  • Discuss subject areas of interest and concern to DOI managers
  • Questions are welcome!
management of ethics matters
Management of ethics matters
  • Know about ethics laws, regulations and policies (Federal, DOI and your bureau)
  • Know when and how to contact an ethics counselor
  • Don’t accept “that’s how we’ve always done it….”
14 principles of ethical conduct
14 Principles of Ethical Conduct
  • “To ensure that every citizen can have complete confidence in the integrity of the Federal Government, each Federal employee shall respect and adhere to the fundamental principles of ethical service.”
  • Presidential Executive Order 12674
5 c f r part 2635
5 C.F.R. Part 2635
  • Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch
  • Federal employees in all executive agencies and departments must adhere to these
contact an ethics counselor
Contact an ethics counselor
  • Before action requiring ethics advice is undertaken (if possible)
  • E-mail ensures that we know what is being asked (and you know what is being answered)
    • Ethics matters are very fact-specific
  • Use descriptive subject lines
Shayla Simmons -
    • Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO)
  • Hale Hawbecker - Alternate DAEO
  • Matt Costello - Ethics Program Specialist
  • Pam Miller - Financial Disclosure Specialist
  • (202) 208-7960,
bureau ethics counselors
Bureau ethics counselors
  • BIA:
    • (405) 247-1518
  • BLM:
    • (202) 208-4695
bureau ethics counselors10
Bureau ethics counselors
  • BOR: Sheila Venson (
    • (303)445-2662
  • MMS:
    • (703) 787-1401
  • OIG: Jim O’Sullivan
    • James_O’
    • (202) 208-4356
bureau ethics counselors11
Bureau ethics counselors
  • NPS:
    • (202) 354-1981
  • FWS:
    • (703) 358-2230
bureau ethics counselors12
Bureau ethics counselors
  • OSM: Jim Bush
    • (202) 208-2762
  • USGS: Nancy Baumgartner
    • (703) 648-7474
ethics discussion topics
Federal ethics statutes

Conflicts of interest

Impartiality concerns

Gift acceptance

Procurement Integrity

Outside employment

Seeking employment

Post-Government employment

Q & A

Ethics discussion topics
federal criminal ethics statutes
Federal criminal ethics statutes
  • 18 U.S. Code § 201 No bribery
  • 18 U.S. Code § § 203 and 205 No acting as agent for a third party to the Government
  • 18 U.S. Code § 207 Post-Government employment representation restrictions
federal criminal ethics statutes17
Federal criminal ethics statutes
  • 18 U.S. Code § 208 No financial conflicts of interest
    • May not participate personally and substantially in a matter which may affect your financial interest or the financial interests of those attributed to you:
        • spouse, minor child, business partner, organizations in which you are an officer or employee, future non-Federal employer (negotiating/seeking employment)
appearance of lack of impartiality
Appearance of lack of impartiality
  • 5 C.F.R. 2635.502
  • Basic Principle: Unless specifically authorized by an appropriate ethics official, an employee should not participate in a particular matter involving specific parties when:
    • The employee knows the matter is likely to have a direct and predictable effect
    • On the financial interests of a member of his/her household
appearance of lack of impartiality19
Appearance of lack of impartiality
  • Authorization may be granted by an appropriate ethics official upon written determination that, in light of all relevant circumstances, the Government’s interest in the employee’s participation in the matter outweighs the concern that a reasonable person may question the integrity of the agency.
federal criminal ethics statutes20
Federal criminal ethics statutes
  • 18 U.S. Code § 209 No supplementation of Federal salary (Is it really “outside employment?)
  • 18 U.S. Code § 219 No acting as agent for foreign principal
  • Penalties of up to 5 years in jail and $50,000 fine
gift acceptance

Gift acceptance

What you can and can’t do…

gifts from outside sources
Gifts from outside sources
  • 5 C.F.R. 2635.203(b)
  • Not everything is a gift
    • Snacks (coffee, donuts, etc.)
    • Greeting cards, certificates, trophies
    • Prizes in contests open to the public
    • Commercial discounts
    • If employee pays fair market value
    • If Federal government pays
what you can t do
What you can’t do
  • Federal employees may not
  • Solicit or accept, directly or indirectly,
  • A gift
  • From a “prohibited source”
  • Or offered due to their official position
what is a prohibited source
What is a “prohibited source?”
  • Any person, company, or organization that:
  • Does business (or is seeking to do business) with bureaus or DOI (contractors, consultants, concessionaires, etc.);
  • Is regulated by your DOI or bureaus; or
  • Can be affected by the performance or nonperformance of your official duties
more prohibited sources
More “prohibited sources”
  • Any professional, technical, or trade association, the majority of whose members represent prohibited sources; or
  • An outside organization that seeks to influence the government.
separate components
Separate components
  • 5 C.F.R. 3501.102
  • The term "agency" is narrowly defined to mean the organization that employs the individual. An employee who works for a DOI bureau may accept a gift from a person or organization having business dealings with another bureau component.
separate components cont d
Separate components, cont’d
  • BUT, Department employees are prohibited from accepting gifts from any person or organization having business dealings with DOI or any DOI bureau, as well as:
    • Office of Indian Education Programs,
    • National Indian Gaming Commission and
    • Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians
gift exceptions
Gift exceptions
  • Gifts valued at $20 or less per source per occasion ($50/year)
  • Gifts based on personal relationships or outside business relationships
  • Free attendance at widely attended gatherings or where you are participating as a speaker (subject to advance written approval)
gift exceptions29
Gift exceptions
  • Sharing of perishable items in office
  • Awards (with Ethics Counselor approval)
  • Some gifts shouldn’t be accepted, even if an exception applies
  • 5 C.F.R. 2635.204
  • Questions? Consult your Ethics Counselor
what if i can t refuse a gift
What if I can’t refuse a gift?
  • DOI employees may accept gifts offered to them by representatives of Indian Tribes, Alaska Native Organizations, Insular and foreign governments when refusal to accept such gifts would be likely to cause offense or embarrassment or otherwise adversely affect relations with the United States.
  • Such gifts shall be deposited with their bureau's property officer
gifts to supervisors
Gifts to supervisors
  • OK, if voluntary
    • On occasions when gifts are traditionally given (holidays, birthdays, Bosses’ Day) - items other than cash, $10 limit (NO pooling)
    • Contributions for food to be shared in office
    • No coercion of donations
gifts to supervisors32
Gifts to supervisors
  • Special, infrequent occasions or those that end supervisor/manager status (retirement, transfer, marriage, birth of child, etc.)
    • No $ limit, but must be appropriate to the occasion
  • Between employees
    • Must have a bona fide personal relationship
gift acceptance by doi or bureaus
Gift acceptance by DOI or bureaus
  • Avoid conflicts of interest
  • Donation Guidelines regulation
    • 374 DM 6, Dec 13, 2005
  • The Department and each bureau should designate a senior person to be its donation vetting point of contact
  • Maintain the integrity and impartiality of DOI and bureau programs and operations
acceptance of travel expenses from non federal entities
Acceptance of travel expenses from non-Federal entities
  • 31 U.S.C. § 1353 permits agencies to accept travel expenses from non-Federal entities
  • With prior written approval via DI-2000
    • Or within 7 days of travel, if exigent circumstances
  • Employee must be in official travel status
acceptance of travel expenses from non federal entities35
Acceptance of travel expenses from non-Federal entities
  • For attendance at meetings, workshops, training, conferences or “similar events”
  • Not for field work (use agency gift regs)
  • Employees may never personally accept cash or checks for reimbursement
  • For international travel annotate authority on the DI-1175 (DI-2000 is still required)
outside activities

Outside Activities

5 C.F.R. 2635.801-809

limitations on outside activities
Limitations on Outside Activities
  • You generally may not receive pay for teaching, speaking and writing that relates to your official duties
  • There is an exception that permits you to teach certain courses at accredited educational institutions
limitations on outside activities38
Limitations on Outside Activities
  • You may not use your official title or position (except as part of a biography or an article in a professional journal with appropriate disclaimer)
  • Outside employment with a prohibited source requires approval of your agency
limitations on outside activities39
Limitations on Outside Activities
  • USGS requires approval of outside employment that is related to your USGS duties or the USGS mission
  • No holding state or local office (if partisan)
  • May not work for agency contractor or grantee
outside work
“Outside work”
  • PRIOR approval of outside work by an ethics counselor means that an employee’s receipt of compensation does not violate 18 U.S. Code § 209 (the criminal ethics statute that prohibits supplementation of a Federal employee’s salary)
speaking as outside work
Speaking as “outside work”
  • Why & how was the request received?
  • Is the subject matter part of the work of the employee during the previous year?
  • Is the employee being offered anything more than actual (and reasonable) personal travel expenses?
speaking as outside work42
Speaking as “outside work”
  • Does the employee’s PD include “outreach activities?”
  • Was the employee on leave or authorized absence during the preparation and delivery of the speech?
  • No honoraria if not “outside work”
writing a book as outside work
Writing a book as “outside work”
  • No royalties if the book deals in significant part with:
    • any matter to which the employee is presently assigned or has been assigned during the previous 1-year period, or
    • any ongoing or announced agency or bureau policy, program or operation
procurement integrity45
Procurement Integrity
  • Ban on disclosing information
    • Contractor bid/proposal info
    • Source selection info
  • Ban on obtaining procurement info
    • Companies can be banned from future procurements
      • Boeing and Lockheed Martin industrial espionage
procurement integrity46
Procurement Integrity
  • Employment contact reporting rule
    • Involving contracts over $100K
    • Report and reject offer
    • Report and recuse (disqualify)
  • One-year ban on accepting compensation from contractor
    • Applies to contracts over $10 million
procurement sensitive information
Procurement - Sensitive Information
  • If it has not previously been made public, DO NOT DISCLOSE:
    • Proposal or bid information, including:
    • Cost or pricing data, including indirect costs and direct labor rates
    • Proprietary information about manufacturing process, operations, or techniques identified as such by any contractor
    • Information identified by any contractor as "contractor bid or proposal information”
procurement sensitive information48
Procurement - Sensitive Information
  • If it has not previously been made public, DO NOT DISCLOSE:
  • Source selection information (which is information that is prepared for use by a Federal agency for the purpose of evaluating a bid or proposal)
source selection information
Source selection information
  • Bid prices
  • Proposed costs or prices
  • Source selection plans
  • Technical evaluation plans
  • Technical and cost or price evaluations of proposals
  • Competitive range determinations
  • Rankings of bids, proposals, or competitors
  • Reports and evaluations of source selection panels, boards, or advisory councils
  • Other "source selection information
post government employment

Post-Government employment

Including seeking for employment…

seeking employment restrictions
Seeking employment restrictions
  • 18 U.S. Code § 208
  • No actions in official capacity that could affect finances of organizations with whom an employee is seeking employment
  • Must disqualify (recusal)
  • Preferably in writing
seeking employment restrictions52
Seeking employment restrictions
  • You are considered to be “seeking employment” when:
    • You engage in actual negotiations for employment
    • A potential employer contacts you and you make a response other than rejection
    • You contact a prospective employer about possible employment (unless the sole purpose of the contact is to request a job application or send a resume to a person affected by your duties only as a member of a class)
seeking employment restrictions53
Seeking employment restrictions
  • You are no longer considered to be “seeking employment” when:
    • You or the prospective employer reject the possibility of employment and all discussions have ended
    • Two months have elapsed since you sent an unsolicited resume and you have received no expression of interest
post government restrictions
Post-Government restrictions
  • Bans of varying durations
  • Lifetime ban - specific party particular matters (such as contracts) in which employee was involved in any way
  • Similar 2 year ban – specific party particular matters pending in employee’s official responsibility during final year of Government service
post government restrictions55
Post-Government restrictions
  • 1 year “cooling off” period – PAS, SES employees, anyone paid more than 89.5% of the rate for level II of the Executive Schedule (currently $142,898 or more)
  • Detailed post-Government employment advice is available from DOI and bureau ethics counselors even after retirement
post government restrictions56
Post-Government restrictions
  • Limitations on representational acts
  • Cannot contact DOI or bureau with the intent to influence
  • OK to work “behind the scenes” in an advisory capacity to post-Government employer