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TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL
FROM: CITY MANAGER
DATE: JUNE 15, 2004
SUBJECT: EMPLOYEE PARTICIPATION IN POLICY POSITIONS IN OUTSIDE ORGANIZATIONS
Direct Staff to prepare an amendment to the City Personnel Rules to establish a policy regarding a City employee’s participation on, or appointment to, a volunteer or non-profit organization that provides services in the City.
Recently, one of our part time employees was offered a leadership position on the Board of a non-profit organization that provides considerable service to the City. Although the position this employee holds with the City is not at a management level, the City Attorney and I agreed that any appearance of conflict should be avoided. Therefore, the employee was offered three options. The first option was to serve on the Board and continue employment with the City, but not work at any task in support of the activities or programs of the organization for which he/she would serve on the Board. The second option was not to accept the position on the Board. The third option was to take time off from employment with the City while serving as a member of the Board.
Councilmembers Long and Wolowicz have asked that the issue of City employees serving on Boards of Directors of outside organizations that do business with the City be placed on the agenda for City Council discussion.
Although the City has no formal policy restricting it’s employees from serving on Boards of Directors of organizations that provide services or conduct activities in the City, the practice, for at least the past six years, has been to discourage this kind of participation by employees, since service on these Boards could be incompatible with the employee’s job duties and possibly could conflict with the interests of the City. Service on these organizations, while beneficial in the overall sense, can be incompatible with the employee’s job duties, may create confusion about the supervision of the employee by his or her supervisor, and may even create the appearance of a conflict of interest, so that approval by the City Manager of any such position is required.
City Personnel Rule XV, Section 6 refers to Outside Employment as follows:
"Employees and probationary employees shall be allowed to engage in employment other than their job with the City, with the understanding that City employment is the highest priority and such employment does not interfere with the performance of assigned duties and does not constitute a conflict of interest. The employee or probationary employee must notify the City Manager in writing regarding their outside employment."
If the City Council wishes to formalize a policy on employees serving on Boards of Directors of outside organizations that work within the City, a similar rule governing Service in Policy Positions on Outside Organizations could read as follows:
"Employees and probationary employees shall be discouraged from assuming a "policy position" such as being a member of a Board of Directors, for an organization that provides services to, or within, the City, or conducts activities within the City requiring City approval. These policy positions generally will be considered to be incompatible with the employee’s job duties and employment with the City and may create a conflict of interest. Accordingly, before an employee, or probationary employee, assumes or accepts a policy position with such an organization, the employee must first obtain approval in writing by the City Manager."