|Policies and Procedures Handbook||
Last Updated: 8/1/98
Garrett County Public Schools
40 South Second Street
Oakland, MD 21550
1. Applicability and Definitions
a. The provisions of these regulations apply to all school officials and employees of the Garrett County School System.
b. As used in this Chapter the term "gift" includes the transfer of any service or thing of economic value regardless of form without adequate and lawful consideration, except for the solicitation or receipt of political campaign contributions regulated in accordance with the provisions of Article 33, Sec. 26-1 et seq., Annotated Code of Maryland.
2. School System Ethics Panel
These regulations shall be administered by a Garrett County School System Ethics Panel which shall have the following responsibilities:
a. To devise, receive and maintain all forms generated by these regulations;
b. To provide advisory opinions to persons subject to the regulations as to the applicability of these provisions to them;
c. To process and make determinations as to complaints filed by any person alleging violations of these regulations; and
d. To refer findings regarding complaints and other enforcement matters to the Public Schools for action.
e. To conduct an information program regarding the purposes and application of these regulations.
3. Conflicts of Interest
Public Schools officials and employees who are subject to these regulations shall not:
a. Participate on behalf of the school system in any matter which would, to their knowledge, have a direct financial impact, as distinguished from the public generally, on them, their spouse or dependent child, or a business entity with which they are affiliated.
b. Participate in any matter on behalf of the school system with a business entity in which that person holds or acquires an interest of either $1,000.00 or 5% or greater in that entity or that has or is negotiating a contract of $1,000.00 or more with the school system.
c. Be employed by a business entity that is under the authority of the school system or that has or in negotiating a contract of more than $1,000 with the school system.
d. Hold any outside employment relationship that would impair their impartiality or independence of judgment.
e. Represent any party, for a contingent fee, before the school system.
f. Within one year following termination of the school system service, act as a compensated representative of another in connection with any specific matter in which he/she participated substantially as a school official or employee.
g. Solicit any gift or accept gifts of greater than $10 in value from any person that is under the authority of the school system or that has or is negotiating a contract with the school system, except where such gifts would not present a conflict of interest as determined by the Ethics Panel.
h. Use the prestige of their offices for their own benefit or that of another.
i. Use confidential information acquired in their official school system position for their own benefit or that of another.
4. Financial Disclosure
a. The school officials listed in subsection (c) of this section shall file annually no later than January 31 of each calendar year during which they hold office, a statement with the Ethics Panel disclosing any gifts received during the preceding calendar year from any person under the authority of the school system or having a contract with the school system. The statement shall identify the donor of the gift and its approximate retail value at the time of receipt.
b. Candidates for elective Public Schools offices listed in subsection (c) of this section shall file statements consistent with the requirements of subsection (a) of this section at the time that they file their certificate of candidacy.
Officials required to file:
1. Members of the Public Schools
2. Superintendent of Schools
d. All school officials or candidates for elective office to positions subject to this section shall file a statement with the Ethics Panel disclosing any interest or employment the holding of which would require disqualification from participation pursuant to section 3(a) of these regulations, sufficiently in advance of any anticipated action to allow adequate disclosure to the public.
e. Disclosure statements filed pursuant to this section shall be maintained by the Ethics Panel as public records available for public inspection and copying.
5. Lobbying Disclosure
a. Any person who personally appears before any school official or employee with the intent to influence that person in performance of his/her official duties, and who, in connection with such intent expends or reasonably expects to expend in a given calendar year in excess of $100 on food, entertainment or other gifts for such officials, shall file a registration statement with the Ethics Panel no later than January 15 of the calendar year or within 5 days after first making such appearances.
b. The registration statement shall include complete identification of the registrant and of any other person on whose behalf the registrant acts. It shall also identify the subject matter on which the registrant proposes to make such appearances, and shall cover a defined registration period not to exceed one calendar year.
c. Registrants under this section shall file a report within 30 days after the end of any calendar year during which they were registered, disclosing the value, date, and nature of any food, entertainment or other gift provided to a school official or employee. Where a gift or series of gifts to a single official or employee exceed $100 in value, the official or employee shall also be identified.
d. The registrations and reports filed pursuant to this section shall be maintained by the Ethics Panel as public records available for public inspection and copying.
6. Exemptions and Modifications
The Ethics Panel or the Public Schools, as appropriate, may grant exemptions and modifications to the provisions of sections 3 and 4 of these regulations if it is determined that application of those provisions would:
a. Constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy;
b. Significantly reduce the availability of qualified persons for public service; and
c. Not be required to preserve the purposes of these regulations.
a. Violation by any school official or employee of the provisions of these regulations shall constitute grounds for discipline or personnel action, or removal from office where provided by law, consistent with procedures set forth in The Public School Laws and by-laws of Maryland and Garrett County Public Schools policies and procedures.
b. Persons or organizations found in violation of the lobbying provisions of these regulations shall be publicity identified and subject to other penalties as provided by law.
c. Violation of any of the provisions of these regulations shall be subject to the provisions or sanctions in The Public School Laws and by-laws of Maryland and Garrett County Public Schools policies and procedures.*
*Note: This provision is to be used where there are existing criminal or civil provisions that might also be applicable to conduct covered by the ethics regulations, or is for use if the Legislature provides further penalty authority under the Public Ethics Law.
Table of Contents
Public Schools 175 JJR
Revision of Section 3 b. & c. 3/10/92
Revision of Section 3 c. 12/10/96