Mandatory Training Requirements - Summaries, Online Training, and Implementation Procedures
Mandatory educational requirements under the Ethics Reform Bill
Source: www.mass.gov Ethics Reform Bill website
Procedures to assist public employees in implementing and complying with mandatory education and training requirements.
By December 28, 2009, and on an annual basis thereafter, all current state employees must be provided with this summary of the conflict of interest law. State employees hired after December 28, 2009, should be provided with the summary within 30 days of the date on which they commence employment, and on an annual basis thereafter. Every state employee is required to sign a written acknowledgment that he has been provided with the summary.
By December 28, 2009, and on an annual basis thereafter, all current county employees must be provided with this summary of the conflict of interest law. County employees hired after December 28, 2009, should be provided with the summary within 30 days of the date on which they commence employment, and on an annual basis thereafter. Every county employee is required to sign a written acknowledgment that he has been provided with the summary.
By December 28, 2009, and on an annual basis thereafter, all current municipal employees must be provided with this summary of the conflict of interest law. Municipal employees hired after December 28, 2009, should be provided with the summary within 30 days of the date on which they commence employment, and on an annual basis thereafter. Every municipal employee is required to sign a written acknowledgment that he has been provided with the summary.
By April 2, 2010, and every 2 years thereafter, all current state, county and municipal employees must complete this training. Public employees hired after April 2, 2010 must complete this training within 30 days of beginning public service, and every 2 years thereafter. This training is designed primarily for state employees. County and municipal employees should also use this training until it is revised with one tailored to them. Upon completing the program, employees should print out the completion certificate and keep a copy for themselves. Employees will be required to provide a copy of the completion certificate to the Town or City Clerk (municipal employees), their employing agency (appointed state and county employees), or to the Ethics Commission (elected state and county employees). Completing the single program will be considered by the Commission as meeting the Bill's training requirements until a second program is added. PLEASE NOTE: When multiple users attempt to complete the current training program using the same computer they may experience a problem accessing the beginning of the program. The user will need to open their internet browser, click on "Tools", then "Internet Options", select "Delete Cookies", then click "OK". The user will be able to click back on the Online Training module on the Commission's website and start at the beginning.
Introduction to the Conflict of Interest Law for the Public Sector
Chapter 268A of the General Laws governs your conduct as a public official or employee. Below are some of the general rules that you must follow. You could face civil and criminal penalties if you take a prohibited action. Many aspects of the law are complicated and there are often exemptions to the general rules. We encourage you to seek legal advice from the Commission or your agency's legal counsel regarding how the law would apply to you in a particular situation.
You may not ask for or accept anything (regardless of its value), if it is offered in exchange for your agreeing to perform or not perform an official act.
You may not ask for or accept anything worth $50 or more from anyone with whom you have official dealings. Examples of prohibited "gifts" include: sports tickets, costs of drinks and meals, travel expenses, conference fees, gifts of appreciation, entertainment expenses, free use of vacation homes and complimentary tickets to charitable events. If a prohibited gift is offered: you may refuse or return it; you may donate it to a non-profit organization, provided you do not take the tax write-off; you may pay the giver the full value of the gift; or, in the case of certain types of gifts, it may be considered "a gift to your public employer", provided it remains in the office and does not ever go home with you.
You may not accept honoraria for a speech that is in any way related to your official duties, unless you are a state legislator.
You may not hire, promote, supervise, or otherwise participate in the employment of your immediate family or your spouse's immediate family.
You may not take any type of official action that will affect the financial interests of your immediate family or your spouse's immediate family. For instance, you may not participate in a licensing or inspection process involving a family member's business.
You may not take any official action affecting your own financial interest, or the financial interest of a business partner, private employer, or any organization for which you serve as an officer, director or trustee. For instance: you may not take any official action regarding an "after hours" employer, or its geographic competitors; you may not participate in licensing, inspection, zoning or other issues that affect a company you own, or its competitors; if you serve on the Board of a non-profit organization (that is substantially engaged in business activities), you may not take any official action which would impact that organization, or its competitors.
Unless you qualify for an exemption, you may not have more than one job with the same municipality or county, or more than one job with the state.
Except under special circumstances, you may not have a financial interest in a contract with your public employer. For example, if you are a full time town employee, a company you own may not be a vendor to that town unless you meet specific criteria, the contract is awarded by a bid process, and you publicly disclose your financial interest.
You may not represent anyone but your public employer in any matter in which your public employer has an interest. For instance, you may not contact other government agencies on behalf of a company, an association, a friend, or even a charitable organization.
You may not ever disclose confidential information, data or material which you gained or learned as a public employee.
Unless you make a proper, public disclosure in writing -- including all the relevant facts -- you may not take any action that could create an appearance of impropriety, or could cause an impartial observer to believe your official actions are tainted with bias or favoritism.
You may not use your official position to obtain unwarranted privileges, or any type of special treatment, for yourself or anyone else. For instance: you may not approach your subordinates, vendors whose contracts you oversee, or people who are subject to your official authority to propose private business dealings.
You may not use public resources for political or private purposes. Examples of "public resources" include: office computers, phones, fax machines, postage machines, copiers, official cars, staff time, sick time, uniforms, and official seals.
You may not, after leaving public service, take a job involving public contracts or any other particular matter in which you participated as a public employee