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Section A
Board Member Conflict of Interest and Impropriety

A-5: Board Member Conflict of Interest and Impropriety

Adoption Date: 03/16/98 |  Revision Date: 08/26/08

The Board of Trustees, recognizing the tremendous obligations entrusted by the public in the organization and in the Trustees as elected officials, shall set forth this policy regarding Board member conflict of interest and impropriety. Each Trustee shall be expected to carry out in a trustworthy and diligent manner the duties and responsibilities of the Board of Trustees consistent with this policy.

The Board of Trustees annually shall review this policy, and each Board member shall be expected to affirm or reaffirm his or her personal pledge to observe this policy.

Conflict of Interest

Board members must maintain unconflicted loyalty to the interests of the district’s citizens and of the College. Board members must avoid any conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety which could result from the Trustee’s own position and the use of membership on the Board of Trustees for personal gain or publicity. Board members shall not influence or control the hiring of personnel, the awarding of contracts or purchase awards, or the employment by contractors and subcontractors of friends, relatives, or business acquaintances.

This accountability supersedes any conflicting loyalty such as to advocacy or interest groups and to memberships on any other boards or staffs. This accountability supersedes the personal interest of any Board member acting as an individual consumer of college services. If a Trustee has a conflict of interest, he or she shall not vote on, nor participate in discussion regarding, nor attempt to influence the vote on any matter related to the conflict. An abstention is expected.

A Board member shall not make or participate in the making of any decision or take any action with respect to any matter in which he/she, or an immediate family member, has any special interest.

Any Board member who has a special interest in any action or activity pending before the College or the Board of Trustees shall disclose the nature of such interest publicly, and the nature and extent of such interest shall be duly noted in the minutes of the Board meeting. The obligation to report arises as soon as the Trustee is aware of the action or activity. If action is to be taken, the Board member shall abstain from voting and the abstention properly recorded in the minutes.

Employment of Relatives

Board members shall not advocate or influence employment in the College for any individual(s) who is a relative of the Trustee. For purposes of this policy, relatives of a Trustee shall be defined as a spouse, significant other, parent, child, individual for whom a Trustee has been assigned legal responsibility in guardianship, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, and in-laws of the same degree of relationship. Neither shall Board members advocate or influence preferential treatment for a relative in the determination of compensation or working conditions. The Trustee shall abstain from any action before the Board affecting a relative of said Trustee.

When a relative of a Trustee is an employee of a firm which is doing business with the College, or seeking to do business with the College, the Board member shall not advocate or influence said business and shall abstain from any action before the Board of Trustees.

Fiduciary Responsibilities

Board members must avoid any conflict of interest or impropriety with respect to their fiduciary responsibilities:

  • There must be no self-dealing or any conduct of private business or personal services between any Board member and the College except as procedurally controlled to assure openness, competitive opportunity, and equal access
  • There must be no use of the Trustee position to pursue or obtain employment by the College for or by themselves, relatives, friends, or associates.
  • There must be no use of the Trustee position to obtain furnishing of services or goods to the College for or by themselves, friends or associates.
  • There must be no direct or indirect receipt of compensation or remuneration, or any monetary profit or gain, by reason of membership on the Board of Trustees or by reason of the Trustee’s service to the College or position on the Board.

Campaign Contributions

Board members who receive financial campaign contributions for election as a Trustee, or contributions for another elected position other than that of Trustee, shall submit to the Board Chair or Board Secretary, a copy of the public report of all such contributions to be used to review and determine potential conflict(s) of interest. Such a report shall then be distributed to all Trustees and made available to the public upon request. If a Trustee does not submit the report of campaign contributions, the Board shall acquire a copy through public records and distribute copies to all Trustees and make copies available to the public upon request.

A record of the request by an individual(s) for a copy of the public report via the College shall be made, including name(s) and address(es), and the Trustee for whom the public report pertains shall be advised of the name(s) of those individual(s) who have received a copy of the public report. The public report shall be disposed of following Board resolutions and according to the College’s official records retention and disposition schedule.

Authority

Board members shall not exercise, or attempt to exercise, individual authority over the organization except as explicitly set forth in Board policies:

  • There must be a recognition of the lack of individual authority by a Trustee, in interactions with the President, employees or students.
  • There must be a recognition of the same limitation and inability of a Trustee to speak for or on behalf of the Board of Trustees in interactions with the public, press or other entities, unless specifically authorized to do so by a Board majority.
  • There must be no individual judgments or evaluations of the President or of employee performance except as performance is assessed against explicit Board policies by the established process(es).

Board members shall not permit themselves to be used to circumvent established lines of authority or interfere in the normal procedures for the processing of complaints or grievances.

Gifts

Board members must not receive or accept any gift or gratuity based on any understanding, either explicit or implicit, of the sender receiving any benefit thereby or of influencing any decision, action or judgment of the College, the Trustee, the Board of Trustees, or any employee. Any gift received in violation of this policy shall be immediately returned to the sender.

This policy does not prohibit any Trustee from receiving an award publicly presented in recognition of service or from business entertainment or reasonable hosting furnished in connection with College business and events.

Violations of the Policy

Whenever a potential or actual violation of this policy exists, in fact or appearance, the Trustee shall disclose such action to the Board Chair and Board Secretary immediately and in writing. Whenever a potential or actual violation of this policy by a Trustee, in fact or appearance, is witnessed by another Trustee, employee or public citizen, the reported action shall be disclosed to the Board Chair and Board Secretary in writing. All disclosures shall be continuously reported and kept current.

A Trustee shall be obligated to disclose a potential or actual violation of this policy by another Trustee. Failure to so report shall also be considered a violation of this policy. No action, prejudice or retaliation shall be directed by the Board or Trustee(s) against another Trustee, the employee or public citizen for reporting a potential or actual violation by a Trustee(s).

Upon disclosure, the Board Chair shall call a meeting of the Board of Trustees within thirty (30) days to consider the reported violation and to be presented with the information and basis for the reported violation. The Board Chair or Board Secretary shall notify all Trustees of the reported potential or actual violation at least forty-eight (48) hours before the Board meeting at which the reported violation is to be considered. Following presentation of the information and basis for the reported violation at the meeting, the Trustee against whom the violation is reported may request a reasonable amount of additional time to respond. Following the response, the Board of Trustees shall determine by majority vote whether a potential or actual violation has occurred. The Board of Trustees shall, as appropriate, take public action to censure the behavior.


 

*A two-thirds majority vote shall be required to amend or rescind this Board Policy.