1-3: Governing Board Conflict of Interest

Policy Overview


This policy is designed to foster public confidence in the integrity of Santa Fe Community College (SFCC or College) and provides guidelines on avoiding even the appearance of a conflict of interest by SFCC’s publicly elected Governing Board members.

Scope and Applicability


This policy outlines the expectations for Governing Board members (hereafter, Board) regarding SFCC’s financial transactions and decision-making and applies to all Board members.

Policy Statement


This policy is intended to protect SFCC’s interest when it is presented with the option of entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of a Governing Board member or that could result in an excess benefit transaction. This policy does not replace or supplant any state or federal law governing conflict of interest applicable to local governing bodies or nonprofit and charitable organizations.

Definitions


  1. Compensation includes direct or indirect remuneration as well as gifts or favors that are not insubstantial. Compensation does not include the taxable meeting per diem provided for elected Board members, or reimbursement for travel on behalf of the College authorized under NMSA 1978, Section 10-8-4.
  2. Conflict of Interest is a situation in which an individual might benefit or appear to benefit personally from a decision made in their official capacity.
  3. Disqualified Person is one who is deprived of legal capacity, power or right.
  4. Excess Benefit Transaction is one in which the organization provides an economic benefit to a disqualified or unqualified person, directly or indirectly, which exceeds the value of the consideration, including the performance of services, received by the organization in return. The regulations specify that a benefit shall not be treated as compensation for performance of services unless the organization clearly indicates its intent to treat the benefit as compensation when the benefit is paid.
  5. Financial Interest is one in which the person or immediate family member has, directly or indirectly, through business, or investment: A. An ownership or investment interest in any entity with which SFCC has a transaction or arrangement, B. A compensation arrangement with any entity or individual with which the College is negotiating a transaction or arrangement, or a potential ownership or investment interest in, or compensation arrangement with, any entity or individual with which SFCC is negotiating a transaction or arrangement. C. A financial interest is not necessarily a conflict of interest. A person who has a financial interest may have a conflict of interest only if the Board or appropriate committee decides that a conflict of interest exists.
  6. Near Relative for purposes of this policy, include 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 percent 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 election or is established later.
  7. Interested Persons includes any director, principal officer or member of the Board or committee member with Board-delegated powers who has a direct or indirect financial interest, as defined in this policy.
  8. Unqualified Person is one who lacks the qualities, attributes or accomplishments required to be or do something.

Policy Process


  1. No member of the Governing Board shall knowingly:
    1. Use College assets or equipment for any unlawful or improper purpose or to promote a personal business interest;
    2. Approve or make any payment of College funds with the intention that any part of said funds be used for any purpose other than that described in the supporting documents;
    3. Participate in the negotiation or the making of any contract between the College and any business entity in which the Board member has a financial interest, either directly or indirectly;
    4. Represent a private interest in any action or proceeding before the Board;
    5. Request or receive any money, thing of value or promise thereof that is conditioned upon or given in exchange for performance or promised performance of an official act, with the exception of the taxable meeting per diem provided for elected Board members, and reimbursement for travel on behalf of the College;
    6. Render any commercial service to the College on a commission basis;
    7. Serve on any College evaluation committee for proposals or bids without disclosing any potential conflict of interest prior to the start of committee business.
    8. Vote on a question in which they have a conflict of interest.
  2. Duty to Disclose
    In connection with any actual or possible conflict of interest, an interested person must disclose the existence of the financial interest and be given the opportunity to disclose all material facts to the Board.
  3. Determination Whether a Conflict of Interest Exists
    After disclosure of the financial interest and all material facts and discussion, the interested person shall leave the Board meeting while the determination of a conflict of interest is discussed and voted upon. The remaining Board members shall decide if a conflict of interest exists.
  4. Violations of the Conflict of Interest Policy
    1. If the Board has reasonable cause to believe a member has failed to disclose actual or possible conflicts of interest, it shall inform the member of the basis for such belief and afford the member an opportunity to explain the alleged failure to disclose.
    2. If the Board determines the member has failed to disclose an actual or possible conflict of interest, the Board will re-vote without the offending Board member and that decision will be recorded and put into effect.
  5. Compensation
    1. A voting member of the Board may not receive compensation directly or indirectly for any services related to College business except for the taxable per diem for service as an elected Board member and reimbursement for travel on behalf of the College allowed under NMSA 1978, Section 10-8-4.
    2. A voting member of the Board may not be otherwise employed by the College during the term for which they are elected.
  6. Annual Statements
    Each Board member shall annually sign a statement that affirms such person has:

    1. Received a copy of, read and understands this policy, and
    2. Agreed to comply with this policy.
  7. Periodic Reviews
    To ensure SFCC operates in a manner consistent with its purpose and does not engage in activities that could jeopardize its tax-exempt status, periodic reviews shall be conducted.
  8. Campaign Contribution Disclosure
    Board members shall disclose all campaign contributions received from any contractor or vendor whose contract or purchase is being voted upon by the Board.
  9. Compensation and Gifts
    1. A Board member shall not accept directly or indirectly any gift, gratuity, favor, and/or entertainment with a monetary value exceeding $50.00 from anyone engaged in business transactions with the College.
    2. The aggregate of gifts, gratuities, favors and/or entertainment received during any calendar year shall not exceed $250.00.
  10. Confidential Information
    Board members will hold confidential information learned as a Board member and shall not use such information for financial gain.

Statement of Accountability and Responsibility


The integrity of the Board’s processes and decisions depends on respecting the fact that conflicts of interest may exist and that they must be acknowledged and addressed. Board members shall annually complete and sign a Conflict of Interest form. When a conflict of interest arises that is not on the form, Board members shall acknowledge at a public meeting that they have a conflict of interest. In the case of a member who has a conflict of interest but has not disclosed it, then the member is in violation of this policy if they do not disclose it.

Authority

Per Diem and Mileage Act, NMSA 1978, § 10-8-4
Governmental Conduct Act, NMSA 1978, §§ 10-16-1 et seq.
Procurement Code, NMSA 1978, §§ 13-1-190, -13, -195
NMSA 1978, §§ 21-1-17, -35
Financial Disclosure Act, NMSA 1978, §§ 10-16A-1, et seq.                

Approval

SFCC Governing Board: 10/28/15

Revised and Governing Board approved: 8/22/18

Associated Procedures