Conflict of Interest and Financial Disclosure Policy

1. Purpose

All Governors, officers, faculty and employees of the University should be well informed about, and carefully adhere to, all laws and all duly promulgated policies regarding conflict of interest and be alert to situations which may have the appearance of a conflict of interest.  The purpose of this policy is to set forth the applicable provisions of law and to assist Governors, officers, faculty and employees to avoid improper outside influences on institutionally related decisions and activities, or use their position or the property of the University for their personal financial or political gain. 

2. Definitions

Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the following terms used in this policy shall mean:

Governors

The Board of Governors for Missouri State University.

Business with which he/she is associated

Any sole proprietorship owned by the person, his/her spouse, or any dependent child in his/her custody;

Any partnership or joint venture in which the person, or his/her spouse, is a partner, and any corporation or limited partnership in which he/she is an officer or director or of which the person, his/her spouse, or dependent child in his/her custody, whether singularly or collectively, owns in excess of ten percent (10%) of the outstanding shares of any class of stock or partnership units; or

Any trust in which the person is a trustee or settlor or in which the person, his/her spouse, or dependent child, whether singularly or collectively, is a beneficiary or holder of a reversionary interest of ten percent (10%) or more of the corpus of the trust. [Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 105.450(3)]

Decision-making public servant

Any Governor, official, appointee, faculty member or employee of the University who is designated by the Board of Governors, or the President of the University, as a decision-making public servant, and/or who exercises supervisory authority over the negotiation of contracts, who has the legal authority to adopt or vote on the adoption of rules and regulations with the force of law, or who exercises primary supervisory responsibility over purchasing decisions. [Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 105.450(6)]

Dependent child, or dependent child in his/her custody

All children, stepchildren, foster children, and wards, under the age of eighteen (18) residing in his or her household and who receive in excess of fifty percent (50%) of their support from a decision-making public servant. [Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 105.452(7)]

Employee

Any person employed by the University on either a full-time, part-time, or temporary basis at a particular time.

Officer

A member of the Board of Governors, the President of the University, the Provost, the Vice President for University Advancement, the Chief Financial Officer, the Vice President of Administrative and Information Services, the Treasurer of the Board of Governors, Purchasing Officer, and any other person holding a position in the University designated by the Governors as "officer."

Substantial interest

Ownership by a decision-making public servant, his/her spouse, or his/her dependent children, whether singularly or collectively, directly or indirectly, of ten percent (10%) or more of any business entity or of an interest having a value of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) or more, or the receipt by such an individual, his/her spouse, or his/her dependent children, whether singularly or collectively, of a salary, gratuity, or other compensation or remuneration of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or more, per year from any individual, partnership, organization, or association within any calendar year. [Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 105.470(10)]

Substantial personal or private interest in any measure or action

Any interest in a measure or action which results from a substantial interest in a business entity. [Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 105.470(11)]

University

Missouri State University.

3. General Policy

No Governor, officer, faculty member or employee of the University shall:

Outside Interests

Knowingly engage in any outside matters of financial interest incompatible with the impartial, objective, and effective performance of their University duties. They shall not use their decision-making authority to realize personal or political gain in any form or which would influence improperly the conduct of their University duties. They shall not knowingly use University property, funds, position or power for personal or political gain. [Source: University of Missouri Conflict of Interest Policy, § A]

Use of Confidential Information

Use confidential information obtained in the course of or by reason of his/her employment or official capacity in any manner, with intent to result in financial or political gain for himself/herself, his/her spouse, his/her dependent child in his/her custody, or any business with which he/she is associated. [Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 105.452(3)]

Disclosure of Confidential Information

Disclose confidential information obtained in the course of or by reason of his/her employment or official capacity in any manner with intent to result in financial or political gain for himself/herself or any other person. [Source: Mo. Rev. Stat.§ 105.452(3)]

Financial or Political Gain

Use his/her decision-making authority for the purpose of obtaining a financial or political gain which materially enriches himself/herself, his/her spouse, or dependent children, by acting or refraining from acting for the purpose of coercing or extorting from another anything of actual pecuniary value. [Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 105.452(5)]

Selling, Renting, Leasing of Property

Participate in any matter, directly or indirectly, in which he/she attempts to influence any decision of the University, when he/she knows the result of such decision may be the acceptance of the performance of a service, or the sale, rental, or lease of any property to the University for consideration in excess of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) value per annum to him/her, to his/her spouse, to a dependent child in his/her custody, or to any business with which he/she is associated, unless the transaction is made pursuant to an award on a contract let or sale made after public notice and in the case of property other than real property, competitive bidding, provided that the bid or offer accepted is the lowest received and in all such cases the person shall abstain from any consideration or decision on any vote taken on any of such matters. [Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 105.454(2) and (3)]

Outside Compensation

Perform any services during the time of his/her office, appointment or employment for any consideration from any person, firm or corporation, other than the compensation provided for the performance of his/her official duties, by which service he/she attempts to influence a decision of the University. [Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 105.454(4)]

The employees of the University are hired to perform professional and skilled duties. Any outside employment or business interests must be clearly subordinate to and not interfere with the individual's obligations to the University.

Except during the summer when he/she is not under contract to the University, a full-time faculty member who engages in outside activities for which he/she is remunerated must report each such activity to his/her Department Head prior to, when possible, the commencement of the activity. If in the Department Head's judgment the activity will interfere with the faculty member's performance of duties at the University or constitute a conflict of interest, it is the responsibility of the Department Head to discuss and attempt to resolve the problem with the faculty member. The Department Head must identify the specific nature and extent of the faculty member's diminished effectiveness or the conflict of interest. If an agreement cannot be reached, the matter will be taken to the College Dean who will attempt to reach a resolution satisfactory to both the individual and the administration. If resolution is not possible at the college level, the Provost will make a determination.

Because Missouri State University faculty members are hired primarily to teach, outside teaching by full-time faculty members is permitted only with the knowledge of and written consent of the Provost, except during the summer when Missouri State University faculty members are not under contract.

Faculty Consultation Activity

Consultation by the faculty, whether income-producing or otherwise, is the application of professional and scholarly expertise in the external community. It is a significant means of professional improvement as well as a form of community service. However, consultation may, in some instances, also constitute a business interest requiring disclosure and approval when the entity for which the employee consults also transacts business with the University or is in competition with the University, or where the consultation itself competes with the work of the University. It is the policy of the University to permit consulting activities that:

  1. are related to the professional interest and development of the faculty member or other exempt person;
  2. do not interfere with regular duties;
  3. do not utilize University materials, facilities or resources except as specifically authorized by the appropriate dean;
  4. do not compete with the work of the University, and are not otherwise contrary to the best interest of the University;
  5. do not violate federal or state law; and
  6. do not represent a conflict of interest under other policies of the University.

Each department shall make an annual report to the Provost indicating the aggregate time and the nature of the service performed for each individual engaged in consulting. These reports shall be transmitted annually to the President.

Procedure When Contracting

When it is proposed that the University enter into 1) contracts for the sale of goods or services, or 2) research contracts or grants, or 3) other contracts, with private firms or corporations in which a Governor, officer, faculty member, or employee knows he/she has a direct or indirect financial interest, the following procedure shall be followed.

Before the proposed contract is executed by the University, the University, Governor, officer, faculty member, or employee shall make a full disclosure of such financial interest, in writing, which disclosure shall be forwarded to the official having contract approval authority. This disclosure shall also be filed with the Secretary of the Board of Governors for public scrutiny for a period of at least ten (10) days prior to the approval of the contract.

If there is a change in the financial interests of a Governor, officer, faculty member, or employee during the term of the contract, the change shall be reported immediately, in writing, and forwarded to the official having contract approval authority, and shall also be filed as required above.

If the financial interest of the Governor, officer, faculty member, or employee in the private firm or corporation is such that it could influence the decision-making process of the private firm or corporation, and such person could also influence the decision-making process of the University in entering into or performing the contract:

  1. The University shall not enter into the contract, or shall cancel the contract, if the terms of the contract so permit; or
  2. The Board of Governors, the Governors, officer, faculty member or employee shall take such action as is necessary to remove him/her from a relationship with the private firm or corporation that could influence the decision-making process of the private firm or corporation; or
  3. The University shall establish a procedure to remove any opportunity for the University employee to influence the entering into the contract by the University or the manner in which the contract is performed by the University.
Prohibited Services after Termination of Office or Employment

No Governor, officer, faculty member, or employee shall:

  1. Perform any service for consideration, during one year after termination of his/her office, appointment or employment, by which performance he/she attempts to influence a decision of the University, except that this provision shall not be construed to prohibit any person from performing such service, and receiving compensation therefore, in any adversary proceeding or in the preparation or filing of any public document or to prohibit an employee of the University from being employed by any other department, division or agency of the executive branch of state government. [Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 105.454(5)]
  2. b. Perform any service for any consideration for any person, firm or corporation after termination of his/her office or employment in relation to any case, decision, proceeding or application with respect to which he/she was directly concerned or in which he/she personally participated during the period of his/her service or employment. [Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 105.454(6)]
Receipt of Gifts Policy

No employee should accept any personal gifts or favors exceeding the amount provided in §105.485.2(8) R.S.MO., as amended, (currently $200) in monetary value in any calendar year from any single person, company, or firm which transacts, or wishes to transact, business with the University. This is not intended to be applicable to meals/functions conducted at the initiative of the University and involving University purposes or business, or to compensation or fringe benefits provided by the University. Any exception to this policy requires the written approval of the employee's supervisor and vice president (if applicable), based on a written explanation for the requested exception.

4. Governor's Disclosure of Conflicts

Duty to Disclose; Timing

Whenever any conflict of interest appears to exist after taking oath of office, the Governor shall immediately fully disclose that conflict to the Board and to the President of the University. In no event shall such disclosure be delayed longer than seventy two (72) hours prior to consideration of the matter by the Board.

Uncertainty as to Conflict

Any Governor who is uncertain whether a conflict of interest may exist in any matter, whether such conflict is his/her own or that of another, may request the disinterested members of the Board who are present to resolve the issues of whether the conflict exists and is material to the particular matter being considered, by unanimous vote, with the affected member abstaining from voting.

Procedure for Disclosure

The following procedures shall be observed in resolving all disclosures:

  1. The interested Board member shall disclose any significant facts within his/her knowledge which indicate that the matter might adversely affect the University; then briefly state his/her position on the particular matter and answer pertinent questions; and shall refrain from exerting in any manner, his/her personal influence over the decision of such matter; and, if requested by the President of the Board, the interested member shall be absent from all discussions, recommendations, determinations and decisions concerning the particular matter; and, the Board and/or committee shall take no action on the matter unless and until a quorum of disinterested members is present; and, the interested member shall not vote on the particular matter.
  2. The interested Board member may voluntarily recuse himself/herself from Board deliberations or actions if the member believes that a duality or conflict of interest exists with respect to any such deliberations or actions. Any such voluntary refusal shall not release the member from making full disclosure.
  3. If a Governor fails to disclose, or after disclosure and adverse vote of the Board, fails or refuses to refrain from further action, such Governor may, by unanimous vote of the Board, be expelled from the Board meeting, with the affected member abstaining from voting, or from all future Board meetings until the conflict is resolved.
  4. The disclosure of a conflict of interest by a member and inquiry by the Board concerning such matters shall be considered in closed session to the extent that the conflict arises out of matters enumerated in the Open Meetings statute.

5. No Discrimination for Filing Reports

No person with supervisory authority shall discipline, discharge, threaten, retaliate or otherwise discriminate against a person or employee acting on behalf of a person, regarding compensation, terms, conditions, location, or privileges of employment because:

  1. The person or employee acting on behalf of the person reports or is about to report, verbally or in writing, a violation or suspected violation of this policy or of law.
  2. A person or employee acting on behalf of the person is requested by the Missouri Ethics Commission to participate in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry held by the Commission or any related court action. [Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 105.467(1)]

6. Financial Interest Statements

Members of the Board of Governors, the President of the University, the Vice Presidents identified above, the Treasurer, the Purchasing Officer, and any other persons identified in the minutes of the Board of Governors as decision-making public servants, are required to file financial interest statements prescribed by Mo. Rev. Stat. § 105.483. The President of the University may designate additional employees as decision-making public servants. The financial interest statements, as required by law, are to be filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission on an annual basis not later than the first (1st) day of May in each year, after January 1, 1993, and with the Secretary of State prior to that time. [Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 105.485]

7. Nepotism

No Governor, officer, faculty member, or employee shall participate, either directly or indirectly, in a decision to appoint or hire an employee of the University, either part-time or full-time, who is related to such person within the fourth degree of consanguinity (blood) or affinity (marriage). It also shall be a violation of this policy for an employee to supervise, either directly or indirectly, the work of another employee who is related within such fourth (4th) degree, unless the supervisory role is specifically approved by the President of the University.

8. Limitation on Gift Acceptance

A Governor shall not accept gifts or benefits from any person holding contracts for supplies or services to the University, or from any bidder on contracts for such services or supplies.

However, this provision shall not apply to acceptance of gifts, benefits, gratuities, amenities, or favors based on obvious family, friendship, or personal relationships where the circumstances make it clear that it is those relationships rather than the business of the University, which are the motivating factors.

9. Transactions with Students

Instructors

Textbooks, tapes, software and other materials authored by the course instructor may be assigned to be purchased by students for a course taught by the author if the royalties arising from the purchase of the assigned materials are returned to the University, another educational institution, a charitable organization, or a not-for-profit foundation. Any proceeds from other University uses of such materials, such as purchase by the library, shall be the property of the faculty member.

10. Sanctions for Violations

Any person knowingly violating the conflict of interest law is subject to punishment as prescribed by Mo. Rev. Stat. § 105.478. Any employee violating any of the provisions of this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action, including suspension or termination of employment.

The University administration shall establish and inform all employees of the existence and operation of an internal process for receiving employee complaints required by this policy, and to receive complaints or requests for investigation of violations or suspected violations of this policy or the statutes on conflict of interest.

Any employee subject to discipline shall be entitled to full due process rights provided under the appropriate grievance procedure.

11. Stationery

Official University stationery may not be used in outside business, personal and other private or political activities of employees.

12. Logo

It is a violation of University policy to employ the name of the University or any of its graphic identification symbols in printed materials intended to endorse or promote individual enterprises or to otherwise enhance private gain without the written permission of the University President.

13. Statutory Requirements

All Governors, officers, faculty members and employees shall comply with the requirements of Mo. Rev. Stat. Ch. 105 dealing with conflicts of interest, as well as any other state law governing official conduct. Failure to comply with those requirements shall be considered a violation of this policy. (As adopted by the Board of Governors, December 31, 1991, and amended on April 20, 2001.)