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APRIL 3-6, 2013, LONG BEACH, CA. Avoiding Scandals & News Paper Headlines. Avoiding Scandals and Newspaper Headlines: When is a gift reportable?. Presented By: Kim Scott, Blach Construction Company Lisa Kaplan, Kaplan Law Group. Agenda. Introduction: Ethics

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Avoiding Scandals &

News Paper Headlines

avoiding scandals and newspaper headlines when is a gift reportable
Avoiding Scandals and Newspaper Headlines:When is a gift reportable?

Presented By:

Kim Scott, Blach Construction Company

Lisa Kaplan, Kaplan Law Group

  • Introduction: Ethics
  • Vendor Perspective: Importance of Relationships
  • Standards, Rules and Guidelines
  • Strategies for Productive Relationships
  • Best Practices and Recommendations
why is this important
Why is this important?
  • Sweetwater / San Diego
  • Contractors / Construction Companies
  • Bonds & Financing
  • Public Perception / Public Trust
  • Ethics
  • Taxpayer Dollars
relationships matter
Relationships Matter
  • Vendors need to understand:
    • Your specific goals & objectives
    • Your programs, procedures and protocols
    • Your culture
  • You need to understand:
    • Vendors’ service offerings/products
    • Vendor representatives and business practices
    • What sets a vendor apart from its competitors
why do vendors offer gifts and entertainment
Why do vendors offer gifts and entertainment?
  • To develop relationships through spending time together
  • Get to know you
  • Share common interests
  • KEY: Good Relationships increase communication; increased communication = better products & saving money
why do vendors make donations
Why do vendors make donations?
  • School Districts rely heavily on fundraising through corporate philanthropy:
    • Political Campaigns
    • Education Foundations, PTA/PTO events
    • Sponsorships
  • Vendors want to support their clients and community
  • Vendors benefit from sponsorship publicity (advertising)
areas of risk
Areas of Risk
  • Entertainment
  • Bond Campaigns
  • Individual Campaigns
general rules
General Rules
  • Who is Reportable (SEI) Form 700
    • What is a conflict?
  • Bond Campaign Donations
    • Rules / Regulations / Policies
  • Entertainment
    • Rules
    • $420 maximum gift – one source
the law d o reportable
The Law: D.O. Reportable
  • Who is form 700 (Statement of Economic Interest) Reportable?
    • Designated Employee (Political Reform Act ß82019)
  • Campaigning
    • 10% rule (Sanger Advisory Letter – FPPC)
  • Conflict of Interest Rule (GC ß87306.5)

The Law: Reporting-Conflict-Gifts

  • General Rules:

"Assets and income of public officials which may be materially affected by their official actions should be disclosed and in appropriate circumstances the officials should be disqualified from acting in order that conflicts of interest may be avoided.”Gov. Code section 81002(c)

"No public official at any level of state or local government shall make, participate in making or in any way attempt to use his official position to influence a governmental decision in which he knows or has reason to know he has a financial interest.”Gov. Code Section 87100

The Political Reform Act prevents conflicts of interest in two ways -- disclosure and disqualification. (See Gov. Code Sections 87100-87350.)


the law disclosure
The Law: Disclosure
  • Disclosure is made on a form called a "statement of economic interests" (Form 700). The form must be filed each year. Filed forms are public documents that must be made available to anyone who requests them.
  • For most other officials, including employees of state and local government agencies, it is up to the agencies that employ them to decide what their disclosure requirements are. Each state and local agency must adopt a conflict of interest code tailoring the disclosure requirements for each position within the agency to the types of governmental decisions a person holding that position would make. (Gov. Code Sections 87301 and 87302.)
  • Economic Interests: Requiring Disclosure
    • Business Entities / Real Property / Source of Income / Gifts
the law disqualification
The Law: Disqualification
  • If a public official has a conflict of interest, the official may be required to disqualify himself or herself from making or participating in a governmental decision, or using his or her official position to influence or attempt to influence a governmental decision.
  • To determine whether an official has a conflict of interest many factors must be analyzed. For example, is it reasonably foreseeable that the official's interest will be affected by a particular decision? Will the decision have a significant monetary impact on the financial interest or is the impact minimal? Will the decision affect the official's interest differently than members of the general public? Is the official even making a governmental decision?
  • In many cases, an official will need guidance from the Commission or an attorney to determine whether disqualification is required.
the law bond campaigns
The Law: Bond Campaigns
  • Mass Mailings
    • Prohibited: School District Resources
  • Restrictions on Donations
    • Are there restrictions?
  • “Pay to Play”? Public Perception
    • News Media Interest
    • San Diego Article
the law entertainment
The Law: Entertainment
  • Board members and designated employees may accept gifts only under the conditions and limitations specified in Government Code 89503 and 2 CCR 18730.
  • The limitation on gifts does not apply to wedding gifts and gifts exchanged between individuals on birthdays, holidays, and other similar occasions, provided that the gifts exchanged are not substantially disproportionate in value. (Government Code 89503)
  • Gifts of travel and related lodging and subsistence shall be subject to the current gift limitation except as described in Government Code 89506.
  • A gift of travel does not include travel provided by the district for Board members and designated employees. (Government Code 89506)
the law honoraria
The Law: Honoraria
  • Board members and designated employees shall not accept any honorarium, which is defined as any payment made in consideration for any speech given, article published, or attendance at any public or private gathering, in accordance with law. (Government Code 89501, 89502)

The term honorarium does not include: (Government Code 89501)

  • 1. Earned income for personal services customarily provided in connection with a bona fide business, trade, or profession unless the sole or predominant activity of the business, trade, or profession is making speeches
strategies for productive relationships
Strategies for Productive Relationships
  • District Training
  • Clear Policies
  • Honest Communication
strategies for productive relationships1
Strategies for Productive Relationships
  • Meetings
    • Lunch
    • Coffee
    • At district offices
  • Free informational workshops
  • Relevant business reasons
strategies for productive relationships2
Strategies for Productive Relationships
  • Occasional Entertaining:
    • Conference Dinners
    • Concerts, golf and sporting events
    • Entertaining & Gifting
  • Client appreciation events
  • Charity events
  • Limit annual value to under $420
strategies for productive relationships3
Strategies for Productive Relationships
  • Vendor Policy: Campaign Donations
    • Types of Campaigns
    • Value
  • Vendor Policy: Charitable giving
    • Existing clients versus potential clients
    • Beneficiary, visibility
    • Value
best practices recommendations
Best Practices: Recommendations
  • To Accept or Not to Accept
    • Vendors
      • Purchasing
      • Construction
    • School District
      • Board Members
      • Designated Employees
    • School Bond Campaigns
vendor policy
Vendor Policy

Purchasing Department

  • Sample Policy: Restricting GiftsandGratuities
    • School District maintains astrictpolicyprohibiting the acceptance by its employees of gifts and gratuities from any supplier or potential supplier (make this a Board policy).
    • However, this policy doesnotprecludeemployeesfromacceptingpromotionalorAdvertising itemssuchas calendars, deskpads, notebooksandotherofficegadgets which are offered by business concerns free to all as part of a public relations program.
vendor policy1
Vendor Policy

Purchasing Department

  • Sample Policy: Allowing Gifts & Gratuities
    • Define who is a designated employee for State Reporting Purposes
      • Beyond the Superintendent and CBO, districts can define more employees who are designated
    • Then clearly state in the policy who is a designated employee
      • Distinguish between designated employees accepting gifts and non-designated employees accepting gifts
    • Define what is considered a gift vs. a donation
    • Doing a yearly training on the Form 700 and required disclosure through an attorney
vendor policy2
Vendor Policy

Facilities Department (Best Practices)

  • Who is Reportable?
  • Construction Contracts?
    • Bidding
      • Lowest Bidder
      • Design, Bid, Build
      • Lease Lease Back
  • Public Perception
district policy
District Policy

Best Practices

  • Board Policy vs. Staff Policies
  • Board Members = Elected Officials
    • FPPC Requirements
  • Conflicts: what happens now
school bond campaigns
School Bond Campaigns
  • Campaign Committee
    • Board Members / Staff Members
  • Donations
    • To limit or to not limit
  • No Public Dollars with Campaign
    • What can district money be used for?


Lisa M Kaplan Kim Scott

Kaplan Law Group Blach Construction

(916) 996-1474 (direct line) (408) 869-8357 (work)