Message from Executive Director Karen L. Nober on Advisory 15-1: Avoiding Conflicts of Interest While Seeking a New Job and After Leaving Public Employment
On September 16, 2015, the State Ethics Commission approved Advisory 15-1: Avoiding Conflicts of Interest while Seeking a New Job and After Leaving Public Employment. Advisory 15-1* explains how the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, applies to public employees when they are seeking a new job, if their public duties affect or involve a potential employer. When a public employee is responsible for matters involving a potential employer, or has dealings in his public position with a potential employer, the conflict of interest law will impose restrictions and disclosure requirements to prevent the public employee from using his position to improve his employment prospects or to favor, or even appear to favor, the potential employer’s interest over the public interest.
Advisory 15-1 provides guidance for public employees during each step of a job search, including:
- Beginning the job search and gathering general information;
- Initiating contact concerning possible job openings;
- Applying for publicly advertised jobs;
- Talking with potential employers; and
- Accepting, not getting, or declining a job offer.
The advisory also explains how the conflict of interest law applies to former public employees even after they leave their public positions.
The advisory is educational and provides general explanations of the conflict of interest law. It is not a substitute for advice specific to a particular situation.
A link to the advisory appears below. Please contact the Commission at 617-371-9500 with any questions. If you need specific advice about how the conflict of interest law applies to your prospective conduct, ask to speak to an attorney in the Commission’s Legal Division.
*Advisories are issued by the Commission to provide general guidance on issues on which public employees often seek advice. They can be found on the Commission’s website at the following link: Advisories.
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The State Ethics Commission’s website has been designed to provide a look consistent with that of the other websites in the Mass.Gov portal. The format should improve your online experience by enabling you to access information more easily by using the tabs located at the top of the homepage. You will be able to locate information with fewer clicks and less scrolling, and you should find the content easier to read.
On the website, you will find information about the Commission, the conflict of interest and financial disclosure laws, educational materials that clarify the laws, as well as publicly available advisories, legal opinions and enforcement matters. You can download a conflict of interest law disclosure form, learn more about the conflict of interest law education and training requirements, and access the summaries of the law which are distributed to public employees each year (which are now available in Spanish and Portuguese). Links to the conflict of interest law online training programs and the financial disclosure law electronic filing application are easily accessible from the website, and the Commission’s regulations, including the regulatory exemptions to the gift restrictions and certain other sections of the conflict of interest law, are also on the website.
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