Conflicts of Interest and Management Plans Office of General CounselJanuary 2019
KSU COI Policies • Policies • Appendix S • Section D40 • PPM 4090: additional for PHS-funded researchers • Goals of Policies • Disclosure • Then elimination, reduction, management of conflicts • Provost’s Office oversees implementation
Is there a conflict of interest? • Divergence of interests: potential or actual personal gain that could (appear to) influence objectivity in professional obligations • Actual and apparent conflicts are treated the same • Whether there is a conflict or whether the conflict can be managed is based on the totality of circumstances
Is there a conflict of time? • Conflicts of time exist when… • external activities exceed reasonable time limits OR • full-time employee’s primary professional responsibility is not to the University • Appropriate University time commitments depend on the department, job responsibilities, professional activities, other circumstances
Conflict of Time Commitment Full-time university graphic design artist engages in regular freelance graphic design work. Is this a conflict of time? What must the employee do?
Conflict of Time Commitment It depends: • How much time is he spending? • Is it affecting his ability to perform his job at KSU? • Where is his primary professional responsibility? • Is he doing the work outside normal business hours?
Conflict of Time Commitment • Employee must disclose information about the outside work. • Supervisor (e.g., unit head) must carefully evaluate: • is more information needed? • should this be denied, approved, or changed/negotiated? • If approved, employee will likely enter into a management plan about time limits, no work during University time, and no use of University resources.
Can an employee consult? Yes, if… • it further develops the employee in a professional sense or serves the community, state, or nation in an area related to professional expertise; • it does not interfere with University responsibilities; • it is consistent with the objectives of the University; • the employee reports it in writing on the consulting request form; — AND— • the employee obtains prior approval (subject to supervisor discretion) for all consulting, regardless of time involved (see the above requirements listed in Appendix S)
Consulting A faculty member wants to serve on an external scientific review panel that is only expected to involve one day of her time every three months. Must she fill out a consulting request form and obtain approval?
Consulting • Yes! • ALL external professional activities are considered consulting. • Distinguish between differences between non-professional activities that can still pose issues of time commitment. (Example: Neighborhood clean-up job vs. giving talks as part of your employment with KSU)
Relevant Ethics Rules:K-State employees cannot… • participate in the making of contracts between K-State and any business which employs the employee or a family member or in which the employee has a substantial interest; • disclose or use in external activities any confidential information acquired as a state employee; • use K-State resources for external use; • receive extra compensation for performing their state employment duties (rule against tips and bonuses); • coerce students or other employees to participate in external activities; and • use the K-State name/logo as an endorsement of the employee’s external activities.
Relevant Ethics Rules (cont’d): • These rules are personal obligations. • Each employee has a responsibility to know and follow these rules. • If not followed, violations could result in a civil fine of up to $5,000 and removal from state service. For more information on this topic, review the Secretary of State’s Guidelines for State Employees Concerning Meals, Gifts, Entertainment, & Travel.
Reporting and Forms • Purpose: disclosure and review of consulting arrangements, significant financial or managerial interests, or employment in an outside entity for compliance with policies and laws; • KSU Forms • Annual Declaration (must update as situations arise) • Significant financial interests • Applies to employee and family members. • Appendix S - $5K or >5% ownership • PPM 4090 broader; $5k, any ownership, receipt of IP income, & reimbursed/sponsored travel • Consulting Request Form • Management Plan Forms • PHSSponsored Project Investigators also have additional requirements; other federal researchers may as well, depending on grant terms/agency policies • State of Kansas Form Statement of Substantial Interest(different; only university involvement is often a reminder)
Supervisor’s Role: Overview • Discuss: be informed and actively involved • about the policy • about situations • Disclose: encourage and expect disclosure • ask follow-ups to clarify details • Negotiate: management plan terms • details are known better and should be worked out at department level • provide ongoing oversight/monitoring
Supervisor’s Role: Questions Clarifying Conflicts When have potential or actual conflict, ask for details not already in disclosure forms, such as… • description of the entity and the relationship to employee; • entity’s relationship to graduate students; • entity’s relationship to University research and employee’s involvement in that research; • University resources or facilities used; • employee’s time involved; • employee’s potential financial gain; • current or prospective contracts between K-State and outside entity; • terms of contract between employee and entity; and • intellectual property ownership divisions between K-State and outside entity.
Supervisor’s Role: Managing Conflicts • Develop plan to address all potential and actual conflicts • Sign and approve only if there are no conflicts or all conflicts are sufficiently managed and included in management plan • Goal: mitigate/eliminate risks to employee’s objectivity • Draft summary if cannot come to agreement with employee (See Appendix S) • Commit to ongoing management of the conflict and oversight of the plan
Management Plans • So what do management plans actually look like? • What should they entail? Here are some examples:
Management Plans: Example Terms • All of the University’s activity with the entity must be conducted pursuant to written university contracts, such as sponsored research agreements. • Employee may not be directly involved in making decisions involving financial transactions with the entity, and any such decisions must be delegated to an impartial employee, approved by the department head, who is not under employee’s supervision or control. • All intellectual property developed must be disclosed to the Research Foundation and ownership of intellectual property shall be determined in accordance with University policy and any executed agreements between University and entity. • Employee shall disclose the relationship with entity to persons working in the lab, sponsors, journals, and prospective donors.
Management Plans: Sample Exhibit Word and PDF versions of this letter can be found here.
Management Plans: Other Options • Other types of management plans may include: • Exhibits • Research • Contracts • Leases • Intellectual Property Agreement • IP Agents