MRSC Insight Blog
Posts for Ethics and Conflicts of Interest
Contractual situations involving spouses or partners of local government officials can present complications that are not immediately apparent, and so elected officials and governing bodies should tread carefully.
While state law addresses ethics for some kinds of municipal officers, these and other laws help all employees understand how to conduct day-to-day business while avoiding conflicts of interest.
Among many issues that municipal officials and employees should treat with caution is the acceptance of gifts — especially those given in connection with their position or duties. In addition to raising concerns about propriety, acceptance of such a gift may violate state law.
When a governing body votes on contracts, it's important that the individual members not have a conflict of interest in it being awarded to a specific firm. Is it enough for an individual to abstain from voting or should the governing body avoid any chance a conflict may arise?
Part Two of this series on local ethics codes reviews items in a code that help when dealing with a possible violation.
Part One of this two-part blog series looks at why a local government would want to adopt an ethics code, who the code could apply to, and what behavior the code might cover.
The line between what is legal and what is ethical is not always clear. Legal Consultant Jim Doherty looks at the definitions of each and the role these concepts play in the public sphere.