4-5: Conflict of Interest – Policy

Policy Overview

This policy establishes the basis for which Santa Fe Community College (SFCC or College) intends to protect the credibility and reputation of SFCC and its employees by providing a transparent system of disclosure, approval, and documentation of employee activities outside SFCC that might otherwise raise concerns about conflicts of interest.

Scope and Applicability

This policy outlines the employee’s responsibilities related to conflicts of interest and applies to all employees of the College. For the purpose of this policy, Governing Board members are not considered employees (Policy 1-3 Governing Board Conflict of Interest).

Policy Statement

  1. All employees shall treat their position with the College as a public trust. Employees shall use their positions and resources only to advance the public interest and not to obtain personal benefits or pursue private interests. Employees shall conduct themselves in a manner that justifies the confidence placed in them by the College community and the greater Santa Fe community, at all times maintaining the integrity and discharging ethically the high responsibilities of public service.
  2. A conflict of interest may make it difficult or impossible for an employee to perform their employment-related duties effectively or to act in the College’s best interests. Thus, all employees must avoid any situation that may give rise to a conflict of interest and the appearance of impropriety.

Definitions

  1. Appearance of Impropriety is a circumstance that appears to a reasonable observer to be improper, whether or not such a circumstance is an actual violation of policy or law.
  2. Conflict of Interest exists when an employee has a real, perceived or potential interest in any circumstance to prefer their own interests or those of another person or entity over the interests of the College. A financial interest may give rise to a conflict of interest in situations in which the College is negotiating a transaction or arrangement related to a business or property in which an employee has a financial interest.
  3. Employee includes all staff (regular, term, probationary, temporary) full- or part-time; all student employees; all faculty (core, probationary, temporary, adjunct) full or part-time; all administrators, including interim; and all contract employees.
  4. Financial Interest: A person has a financial interest if the person has, directly or indirectly, through business, investment, or family:
    1. An ownership or investment interest in a business or property;
    2. An employment arrangement or a prospective employment arrangement for which negotiations have already begun;
    3. A compensation arrangement or a prospective compensation arrangement for which negotiations have already begun.
    4. A financial interest does not automatically constitute a conflict of interest.
  5. Family of an Employee: For purposes of this policy, family of an employee includes spouse, domestic partner, parents, brothers, sisters, children, stepparents, stepbrothers and stepsisters, stepchildren, parents-in-law, brothers- and sisters-in-law, sons- and daughters-in-law, and the immediate family members (parents, brothers and sisters, and children) of spouses and domestic partners, or is a person who receives financial support of more than 25% of their annual income, or is a person claimed as a dependent for federal income tax purposes. This policy applies whether the relationship exists at the time of employment or is established later.
  6. Honoraria means payment of money, or any other thing of value in excess of $100.00, but does not include reasonable reimbursement for meals, lodging or actual travel expenses incurred in make a speech or rendering the service, or payment or compensation for services rendered in the normal course of a private business pursuit unrelated to the employee’s employment duties. Outside employment is not necessarily considered honoraria and will be treated separately under this policy as per the New Mexico Governmental Conduct Act.

Policy Process

  1. ­­­­No employee may request or receive, and no person may offer an employee, any money, thing of value, favor or promise that is conditioned upon or given in exchange for promised performance of the employee’s duties or responsibilities.
  2. Employees shall be disqualified from engaging in any outside work-related action directly affecting the employee’s financial interest. No employee during the period of employment shall acquire a financial interest when the employee believes or should have reason to believe that the new financial interest will be directly affected by the employee’s job performance.
  3. No employee may request or receive an honorarium for a speech or service rendered that relates to the performance of their duties.
  4. The College shall not enter into a contract with an employee or with a business in which the employee or the family of the employee has a substantial financial interest unless the employee has disclosed to the hiring supervisor the employee’s substantial interest and unless the contract is awarded pursuant to a competitive process. A person negotiating or executing a contract on behalf of the College shall exercise due diligence to ensure compliance with the provisions of this section.
  5. No state agency or local government agency shall accept a bid or proposal from a person who directly participated in the preparation of specifications, qualifications or evaluation criteria on which the specific competitive bid or proposal was based. A person accepting a bid or proposal on behalf of a state agency or local government agency shall exercise due diligence to ensure compliance with this section.
  6. An employee shall not sell, offer to sell, coerce the sale of, or be a party to a transaction to sell goods, services, construction or items of tangible personal property directly or indirectly through the employee’s family or a business in which the employee has a substantial interest, to anyone the employee supervises. An employee shall not receive a commission or shall not profit from the sale or a transaction to sell goods, services, construction or items of tangible personal property to anyone the employee supervises. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply if the supervised employee initiates the sale or to sales open to the College community such as through the bookstore, the library, food outlets or arts and craft sales.
  7. All employees shall adhere to the provisions of Policy 6-11 Procurement and the Purchasing Procedures Manual.
  8. Employees may not solicit business while on duty working for SFCC.
  9. Employees taking on side jobs to supplement their income will refrain from engaging in employment that would lead to the following situations:
    1. When the employee cannot fully attend to their College duties because of the outside employment;
    2. ­When the employee uses College resources to conduct outside work; and/or
    3. When the employee’s private work con­flicts with College interests.
  10. Employees must report outside employment to their supervisors. Supervisors may counsel their employees on potential conflicts of interest that could arise from such employment, but cannot preemptively restrict outside employment without evidence that the conflict genuinely exists.
  11. If an employee becomes aware that a conflict of interest or an appearance of impropriety exists, or that there is a reasonable potential for a conflict of interest to occur in the course of their employment duties, that employee should notify their supervisor. The supervisor should consult with the appropriate dean or department head and the Office of Human Resources to determine whether the activity is permissible or not, and the best course of action to avoid or to resolve a conflict of interest in the situation.
  12. An employee who violates this policy may be subject to corrective action or disciplinary action up to, and including, termination (Policy 4-2 Employee Corrective Action and Disciplinary Action). The discipline imposed will depend on the severity of the violation and the circumstances of the situation. 

Statement of Accountability and Responsibility

The President, through the Executive Director of Human Resources and Professional Development/EEO Officer and the Office of Human Resources, shall be responsible for enforcing Human Resources policies and procedures. The Office of Human Resources shall work with the different departments and offices to comply with this policy and develop procedures that will enforce this policy regarding awareness, prevention, and remediation.

Authority

Governmental Conduct Act, NMSA 1978, Sections 10-16-1 through 10-16-18

SFCC Policy 1-3 Governing Board Conflict of Interest

SFCC Policy 4-2 Employee Corrective Action and Disciplinary Action

SFCC Policy 6-11 Procurement

SFCC Purchasing Procedures Manual

Policy Approval

SFCC Governing Board approved: 9/28/06

Revised and Governing Board approved: 12/13/17

View Procedures