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Policy Manual – Conflict of Interest
HUMAN RESOURCES AND LABOR RELATIONS
Section 410 Conflict of Interest
Last Revised: 11/16/98
Responsible Office: Human Resources
APPLIES TO: All Officers and Employees
To ensure continued confidence of the people of Maine in the University and its personnel, individuals serving the University shall at all times act in a manner consistent with their public responsibilities to the University and shall exercise particular care that no real or perceived detriment to the University results from conflicts between personal interests and those of the University. Conflict of interest situations, or the appearance of conflicts of interests, have the potential to result in serious harm and direct losses to the University. The losses are often difficult to detect and include not only direct monetary losses and loss of confidence in the University, but also negative publicity and erosion of employee morale.
It is the policy of the University that its officers, faculty, staff and others acting on its behalf have the obligation to avoid ethical, legal, financial or other conflicts of interest and to ensure that their activities and interests do not conflict with their obligation to the University or to its welfare.
This policy applies to all University officers and employees. The policy also applies to persons affiliated or associated with the University, including members of advisory boards to the University. All provisions, except those relating to outside employment, apply to persons affiliated with the University. This policy does not apply to the Board of Trustees who are already covered by similar provisions in the Board’s Financial Code of Ethics and State Law.
The policy is to be interpreted and applied in a manner that will best serve the interests of the University and that distinguishes between those minor and inconsequential conflicts which are unavoidable and those conflicts which are substantial and material. A conflict of interest may exist when an employee, a close relative, or a person or organization with whom the employee is associated has an existing or potential financial or other interest which involves the employee’s University responsibilities.
The policy does not prohibit an employee from freely pursuing those teaching, research, and professional and public service activities which will not result in such a conflict, nor prohibit an employee from accepting pay, compensation, fees, honoraria, or reimbursement of expenses which may be offered in connection with such activities.
Disclosure and Consultation: The following procedures apply except in situations where a procedure is otherwise provided by a collective bargaining agreement. Each university shall develop its procedure for disclosure and consultation within the following parameters.
If an employee believes that he or she may have a conflict of interest, the employee shall promptly and fully disclose the conflict to the appropriate administrator (Chancellor or President’s designee) and shall refrain from participating in any way in the matter to which the conflict relates until the conflict question has been resolved.
1. When it appears that a material conflict may arise between the personal interest of an employee and his or her responsibilities to the University, the employee shall notify the appropriate administrator by submitting a written statement describing the nature of the possible conflict. If an apparent conflict comes to the attention of the administrator, that individual may request a written statement from the employee.
2. If an employee is in doubt as to whether he or she is confronted with a potential conflict of interest, the employee shall consult with the appropriate administrator to determine if the outside interests could conflict impermissibly with employee’s obligations to the University.
3. The appropriate administrator promptly shall notify the employee or associate in writing that: (a) there is no conflict and the employee may proceed; or (b) there may be a conflict and further consultation is necessary prior to reaching a determination; or (c) there is a conflict and the employee shall not proceed with his or her personal interest which results in the conflict. In some cases it may be determined that after full disclosure, the University’s interests are best served by participation of the employee despite the conflict or appearance of conflict.
4. The employee may appeal the administrator’s decision to the President (Chancellor for System Office employees).
5. The employee must report any significant changes in the outside interest that occur during the year and consult with the appropriate administrator if the undertaking of a new outside interest is considered.
6. Any significant violations of this policy shall be reported to the Chancellor for System Office employees and Presidents, to the President for university employees and to the Human Resources and Labor Relations Committee of the Board of Trustees for the Chancellor.