- Union County Public Schools
- Board Policies App Example
2-17 - Ethics and The Purchasing Function
2 - Chapter 2 - Financial Operations
2-17 Ethics and The Purchasing Function
Revisions History: 07/07/2020, 08/07/2018, 12/01/2015, 03/01/2011, 03/20/2007 Approved 03/07/2000
The Board is committed to conducting the purchasing function in an ethical manner and in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. The Board’s purchasing goals and principles will not be compromised by individuals motivated by personal gain.
The Board and its officers, agents and employees are subject to the laws governing conflicts of interest in furnishing supplies to the Board and the use of confidential information.
No Board member or officer, agent or employee involved in the purchasing function will:
1. solicit or accept any gifts, favor, reward, service or promise of reward, including a promise of future employment, in exchange for recommending, influencing or attempting to influence the award of a contract;2. accept trips or meals from contractors, subcontractors or suppliers, except gifts or favors of nominal value or meals furnished at banquets; or3. solicit or accept any gift or donation from an E-rate service provider in violation of federal gifting rules.
The District’s cost estimate for any public contract is confidential prior to bidding or other competitive purchasing processes notwithstanding Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and/or other budgetary instruments designed to provide strategic financial planning. The identity of contractors who have obtained proposals for bid purposes for a public contract may be confidential at the discretion of the superintendent or designee. Record of the bids in the informal range are not subject to public inspection until a contract is awarded. Record of bids in the formal range become public record once opened. Any employee who divulges confidential information to any unauthorized person will be subject to disciplinary action.
The Board expects all employees who are directly or indirectly involved in any aspect of the purchasing function to be aware of and comply with all current state and federal laws and regulations as these standards apply to the school system’s purchasing activities.
Employees directly or indirectly involved in any aspect of the District’s procurement, purchasing, and/or contracting process for apparatus, materials, equipment, supplies, services, real property, or construction or repair projects, regardless of source of funds, must adhere to the following standards of conduct and those established in Policy.
Employees are expected to make all purchasing-related decisions in a neutral and objective way based on what is in the best interest of the District and not in consideration of actual or potential personal benefit.
Employees shall not participate, directly or indirectly, in making or administering any contract from which they will obtain a direct benefit, unless an exception is allowed pursuant to law.
• An employee obtains a direct benefit when the employee or his or her spouse will receive income, commission, or property under the contract or the employee or spouse has more than a 10 percent interest in an entity that is a party to the contract.• Participation in making or administering a contract includes, but is not limited to, participating in the development of specifications or contract terms; obtaining or reviewing bids; preparation or award of the contract; and having the authority to make decisions about, interpret, or oversee the contract.
Employees shall not participate, directly or indirectly, in the selection, award, or administration of a contract supported in whole or part by a federal grant or award if the employee has a real or apparent conflict of interest.
• A real or apparent conflict exists when the employee, his or her immediate family member or partner, or an organization which employs or is about to employ any of those individuals, has a financial or other interest in or receives a tangible personal benefit from a firm considered for a contract. For purposes of this subsection, a “financial interest” means a financial interest which comprises more than five percent of the equity of the firm or business or more than five percent of the assets of the economic interest in indebtedness. It does not include an ownership interest held through a fiduciary, such as a mutual fund or blind trust, where the individual or individual’s employer has no control over the selection of holdings.
Employees shall not influence or attempt to influence any person involved in making or administering a contract from which the employee will obtain a direct benefit as described above.
Employees shall notify the Superintendent or designee in writing if they have an actual or potential conflict of interest under this Policy or applicable state or federal law that would disqualify them from performing any aspect of their job responsibilities.
Employees shall inform existing and potential contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers about these restrictions.
Employees shall not divulge confidential information to any unauthorized person. Confidential information includes, but is not limited to (1) the District’s cost estimate for any public contract, prior to bidding or completion of other competitive purchasing processes; and (2) the identity of contractors who have obtained proposals for bid purposes for a public contract, until the bids are opened in public and recorded in the board minutes.
An employee shall not misuse information in violation of G.S. 14-234.1. Specifically, an employee shall not, in contemplation of the employee’s own official action or that of the board or others acting on behalf of the District, or in reliance on information known to the employee in his or her official capacity and not made public, to:
• acquire a financial interest in any property, transaction, or enterprise;• gain a financial benefit that may be affected by the information or contemplated action; or• intentionally aid another to acquire a financial interest or gain a financial benefit from the information or contemplated action.
The Superintendent or his/her designee is responsible for ensuring that all affected personnel are aware of Board Policy requirements and applicable laws. Any individual aware of any violation of this policy or applicable laws should report such violation to the Superintendent, or, if it involves the Superintendent, to the Board Chairperson.
LEGAL REF.: G.S. 133-32, -33; 14-234, -234.1; Attorney General Opinion requested by L. W. Lamar regarding G.S. 133-32, the Applicability to Attorneys and Law Firms Providing Professional Services to Local Board of Education, dated May 13, 1993, 47 C.F.R. 54.503; FCC Sixth Report and Order 10-175.
CROSS REF.: Board Policy 1-16, Code of Ethics for School Board Members
UNION COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION