Jul 30, 2021  
Policies 
    
Policies

Human Resources


06:74:00 Conflict of Interest and/or Commitment

 

A. Introduction 

This policy is intended to define the general principles which should guide the actions of members of the faculty and of employees; offer illustrations of activities which potentially constitute a conflict of interest; make faculty members and employees aware of disclosure requirements related to conflicts of interest; describe the process by which those disclosures shall be evaluated and decisions rendered; and describe the appeals process regarding such decisions.

B. Definitions 

  • Conflict of interest - occurs when the personal interests, financial or otherwise, of a person who owes a duty to Chattanooga State and its constituent (business partners  and all employees) actually or potentially diverge with the person's professional obligations to and the best interests of Chattanooga State.
  • Conflict of commitment - occurs when the personal or other non-work related activities of an employee of Chattanooga State impairs the ability of that employee to meet their commitments of time and energy to Chattanooga State and its interests.
  • Family member - includes the spouse and children (both dependent and non-dependent) of a person covered by this policy.
  • Immediate family - for purposes of Section G, means spouse, dependent children or stepchildren, or relatives related by blood or marriage.

C. Objectives of the Conflicts of Interest Policy

1. Employees of Chattanooga State all serve the interests of the Tennessee Board of Regents, State of Tennessee and its citizens, and have a duty to avoid activities and situations which, either actually or potentially, put personal interests before the professional obligations which they owe to the Regents, the State and its citizens.

D. Pertinent Regulations, Laws and Policies

1. Chattanooga State will adhere to the regulations, state laws and TBR policies as identified in TBR Policy - Conflict of Interest: 1:02:03:10 (Section II - Pertinent Federal Regulations, State Laws and TBR Policies) that provide additional guidance regarding conflict of interest situations.

E. Applicability

1. This policy shall apply to all persons employed (either as faculty, full-time, part-time or temporary (salaried) employees) by Chattanooga State. 

F. General Principles

1. It is the policy of Chattanooga State that employees should avoid external commitments which significantly interfere with the employee's duties to the College (conflicts of commitment). See also Chattanooga State Policy 06:76:00, Outside Employment/Consulting. Disclosures of conflicts of commitment shall be made as required under Policy 06:76:00 and evaluated as indicated in that policy.

2. It is the further policy of Chattanooga State that employees should avoid situations where the self-interests of the employee diverge from the best interests of the College (conflict of interest).

3. The mere existence of either a potential or actual conflict of interest does not mean that such conflict must necessarily be eliminated. 

a. Where the potential detriment to the College is at most minor and inconsequential, and the conflict does not indicate violation of Federal or State law, regulation, or policy, those persons charged with evaluating disclosures should allow the activity to proceed without interference.

b. For those situations which do not implicate Federal or State law, regulation or policy, the standard by which it should be determined whether a conflict of interest should be managed, reduced, or eliminated is whether that conflict would appear to a reasonable person to call into question the integrity or judgment of the affected employee.

G. Situations and Activities Creating a Conflict of Interest

1. In the following situations and activities, there is at least the appearance, and possibly the actuality, of an employee allowing his or her personal interests, and not the best interests of the College, to affect that employee's judgments. This list is illustrative, and not exhaustive as identified in TBR Policy - Conflict of Interest: 1:02:03:10 (Section VI - Situations and Activities Creating a Conflict of Interest).

H. General Disclosure Requirements

1. Persons to whom this policy applies who believe that a conflict of interest may exist either personally or with respect to another person covered by this policy shall make a written disclosure of the facts and circumstances surrounding the situation.

2. Disclosures must be submitted on the College's Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form (Exhibit 1).

3. Disclosures shall be submitted to the Office of Human Resources or other person designated by the President to receive such disclosures.

4. Disclosures made by a President shall be submitted online to the Tennessee Ethics Commission.

I. Review of Disclosures 

1. Disclosures made under Section G of this policy by the President shall be evaluated by the Tennessee Board of Regents or a duly appointed committee thereof. 

2. The College shall establish at least one Review Committee comprised of no fewer than three persons to receive and evaluate disclosures generated under Sections H herein by employees of the Colleges. Policies and procedures regarding such matters as selection of members, duration of membership, frequency of meetings, etc. shall be adopted by the College. 

a. Following evaluation of the disclosure, the Committee shall render a decision regarding the issue(s) presented by the disclosure.

b. Any disclosure which indicates an actual violation of law shall be forwarded to the President along with the Committee's findings.

3. Persons potentially committing a conflict of interest violation under consideration by a conflict of interest review Committee shall receive notice of the Committee's evaluation, and be given an opportunity to appear before that Committee.

J. Sanctions 

1. Failure to observe restrictions imposed as a result of review of a conflict of interest disclosure or a knowing failure to disclose a conflict of interest may result in disciplinary proceedings under College policy.

K. Appeals 

1. Decisions made by an Institutional Review Committee may be appealed to the President. Decisions of the President shall be final and binding.

 

• Exhibit 1 -  06:74:00 Exhibit 1 - Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form   

 

New Policy Submitted to Policy Review Committee on February 18, 2019

Submitted to Policy Review Board on April 08, 2019

Approved by Policy Review Board on April 24, 2019