DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY Code of Ethics Training ETHICS ETHICS: GENERAL GUIDELINES Guiding Principles DEO employees are stewards of the public trust. Employees are required to promote the public interest and maintain the respect of the citizens of the State of Florida. Employees must safeguard their ability to make objective, fair, and impartial
decisions. General Guidelines DEO employees are prohibited from accepting a benefit of any sort if it could be reasonably inferred that the benefit was intended to influence or reward a decision. Avoid DEO employees must avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Employees must not engage in conduct that might undermine the public trust. ETHICS: GENERAL GUIDELINES Sources of Rules Florida Constitution Chapter 112, Part III, Florida Statutes Executive Order 11-03
DEO Code of Ethics Note: The DEO Code of Ethics imposes restrictions above and the Florida Statutes. beyond those found in DEO Code of Ethics Employees are responsible for reading, understanding, and complying with the DEO Code of Ethics. DEO employees receive a copy of the DEO Code of Ethics upon hire. Pledge on Behalf of the People of Florida - DEO employees are required to sign acknowledgment of the DEO Code of Ethics. Ethics Officer: The General Counsel is DEOs Chief Ethics Officer.
ETHICS: CONSEQUENCES OF VIOLATION Consequences of Violation of the Statutory Code of Ethics: Suspension and dismissal from employment. Demotion and reduction in salary level, including the forfeiture of a portion of salary. A civil penalty of up to $10,000.00. Restitution of any pecuniary benefits received because of the violation committed. Public censure and reprimand. ETHICS: GIFTS Guiding Principles
Gifts can influence an employees actions or judgment. DEO employees must carefully consider the ethics and permissibility of any gift. General Guidelines DEO employees are generally prohibited from asking for or accepting gifts. If the employee cannot personally receive the gift or expenditure, then neither can the employees family. Questions DEO employees should contact the Office of the General Counsel with questions regarding the propriety of accepting a gift. ETHICS: DEFINITION OF GIFT General Guideline: A gift is ANYTHING of value.
Statutory Definition: A gift is anything accepted by a person or on that persons behalf, whether directly or indirectly, for that persons benefit, and for which no payment is made. Examples of Gift Flowers/plants or food/beverage. Dues, fees, tickets to events, lodging, or parking. Personal services for which a fee is normally charged. Payment, loan advance, or forgiveness of a debt. Property or the use of property, whether real, tangible, or intangible. Preferential rates or terms of a transaction not available to others similarly situated. ETHICS: GIFTS SOLICITATION
General Guidelines DEO employees are prohibited from soliciting any gift, regardless of value, if the gift is for the employees benefit, the benefit of the employees family, or the benefit of another DEO employee. Examples of Prohibited Conduct Employees, spouses, and minor children may not accept any gift that they know or should know is given to influence official action. DEO employees may not corruptly use or attempt to use their official positions to obtain a special privilege for themselves or others. Employees may not disclose or use information not available to the public and obtained by reason of their public positions for personal benefit or the benefit of others.
Employees may not solicit an honorarium related to their public office or duties. ETHICS: GIFTS FROM LOBBYISTS PROHIBITED Lobbyist Defined: A person who is employed and receives payment or who contracts for economic consideration, for the purpose of lobbying OR a person who is principally employed for governmental affairs by another person or governmental entity to lobby an agency on behalf of that person or governmental entity. General Guidelines: DEO employees are prohibited from accepting anything of value from an executive branch lobbyist or a lobbyists principal, regardless of whether the thing of value is being offered
for the purpose of lobbying. The Florida Legislature maintains a listing of all registered principals and executive branch lobbyists (http://www.leg.state.fl.us). ETHICS: GIFTS FROM LOBBYISTS PROHIBITED Exceptions to the Gift Ban 1. Reimbursement: There is no gift if the employee reimburses the donor for the actual cost of the item, regardless of the cost to the donor. Prior to or contemporaneous reimbursement. Calculated pursuant to s. 112.3148(7), F.S. Value = actual cost to the donor, subject to certain exceptions.
2. Benefits Open to all Persons: DEO employees may attend a community event open to all persons or accept a benefit generally available to all other similarly-situated government employees. ETHICS: GIFTS FROM NON-LOBBYISTS General Guidelines: DEO employees are prohibited from accepting anything of value from a non-lobbyist. ETHICS: GIFTS FROM NON-LOBBYISTS Exceptions to the Gift Ban 1. Gifts from a Relative: DEO employees may accept gifts from a relative if the relative is not a lobbyist or a lobbyists principal.
2. Gifts from a Personal Friend: Employees may accept gifts from a personal friend in the ordinary course of friendship if the friend is not: A lobbyist or a person associated with a lobbyist. A person having a special pecuniary interest in a matter pending before a State agency. A person who provides goods or services to the State of Florida under a contract or agreement. A person seeking business from the State of Florida. ETHICS: GIFTS FROM NON-LOBBYISTS Exceptions to the Gift Ban 3. Refreshments at Events: DEO employees may consume food and
drink at receptions and events if attendance is an appropriate exercise of the employees official duties. Note: If a lobbyist or lobbyists principal funds the event, seek guidance from the Office of the General Counsel. 4. On behalf of an Entity: DEO employees may accept gifts on behalf of a government entity or charitable organization or for a public purpose so long as the gift is not provided by a lobbyist or lobbyists principal and the gift is approved by the General Counsel. 5. Volunteer Political Campaign: DEO employees may accept volunteer political campaign-related travel, lodging, food, and drink if approved by the General Counsel.
ETHICS: GIFTS FROM NON-LOBBYISTS Exceptions to the Gift Ban 6. Reimbursement: There is no gift if the employee reimburses the donor for the actual cost of the item, regardless of the cost to the donor, prior to or contemporaneous to accepting the gift. 7. Salary and Similar Benefits: Salary and similar benefits associated primarily with the employees employment or service as an officer or director of a corporation or organization are not gifts. 8. Use of Public Property for Public Purpose. 9. Transportation. Employees may accept transportation provided by an agency so long as the transportation is for officially-approved government business. 10. Awards, Plaques, and Certificates in Public, Civic, or Professional
Service. ETHICS: GIFT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS References for Reporting Requirements DEO employees must comply with the gift disclosure requirements found in section V.F of the DEO Code of Ethics. Certain employees must comply with the disclosure requirements found in ss. 112.3148(8)(a) and 112.3145(2)(b), F.S. General Guidelines: DEO employees must report any permissible gift unless the gift is from a relative or is given by a personal friend for a special occasion or is a meal with a friend or lodging at a friends home. Note: Any gift that falls under the provisions above must be reported and disclosed if it is valued at over $100.00.
ETHICS: GIFT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS Annual Statements of Financial Interests: All state officers, local officers/employees, and specified state employees must file disclosure of certain financial interests with the Florida Commission on Ethics. Deadline for Filing: Within 30 days of appointment and by July 1 each year thereafter. Penalties for Non-Compliance If not filed or post-marked by September 2, automatic fine of $25.00 for each day late up to maximum penalty of $1,500.00. Disqualification from being on ballot, impeachment, removal or suspension from office or employment.
Demotion, reduction in salary, reprimand, or civil penalty. ETHICS: SERVICE ON BOARDS Governmental Entities: DEO employees may serve on boards or commissions of governmental entities if approved by the General Counsel. Non-Governmental Entities: DEO employees may not serve as an officer or director of a non-governmental corporation or organization unless approved by the General Counsel and the organization is: 1. Non-profit and does not seek funding from the State of Florida, 2. Non-profit and seeks funding from the State of Florida, but the employees service is at the request of DEO and is directly related to the employees DEO employment, or
3. For-profit, does not seek funding from the State of Florida, and is closely held or family owned. ETHICS: DUAL EMPLOYMENT General Guidelines DEO employees may not have any ongoing dual employment or receive dual compensation without prior approval from the Supervisor and General Counsel. An employee requesting dual employment or dual compensation must complete a DEO Dual Compensation Form. ETHICS: EXEMPTIONS
There may be unique or compelling circumstances warranting an exemption or waiver of a particular provision of the DEO Code of Ethics. The General Counsel may grant such exemptions. Note: The General Counsel cannot exempt any employee from complying with the statutory ethics requirements.
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