The Ethics Commission has preliminarily approved a draft advisory explaining how the conflict of interest law applies to public employees who wish to have private business relationships or other private dealings with those over whom they have official authority, or with whom they have official dealings.  In certain circumstances, where certain safeguards are present, such private business relationships and private dealings are permissible.  The Commission regularly receives numerous requests for advice, as well as complaints, regarding these types of relationships and dealings, and there is substantial Commission precedent addressing these issues.  This advisory, therefore, is intended to provide guidance to public employees and others to assist them in understanding the applicable restrictions of the conflict of interest law and how to comply with them.  The advisory will not have the force of law, but instead will be purely informational and educational.

The Commission is releasing this draft of the advisory to seek outside views on situations and questions that could be addressed by the advisory to make it more effective as an educational resource.  After any additional revisions are made, the advisory will be brought back to the Commission for final approval.

If there is a situation or question related to the subject matter of this draft advisory that you think the advisory should address, please contact Deirdre Roney, the Commission’s General Counsel, no later than Monday, June 23, 2014, by email at:  droney@eth.state.ma.us, and identify that situation or question.  Please caption your email “Draft Advisory.”

Click the link below to read the draft advisory.

Draft Advisory 14-1: Public Employees’ Private Business Relationships and Other Private Dealings with Those Over Whom They Have Official Authority or With Whom They Have Official Dealings pdf format of Draft Advisory 14-1