Page last updated 08/02/2010
General Ethical Standards There are certain common standards of ethics that govern the conduct of employees involved in the purchasing function, as follows:
- It is a breach of ethics to attempt to realize personal gain through public employment with the school district by any conduct inconsistent with the proper discharge of the employee’s duties.
- It is a breach of ethics to attempt to influence any public employee of the school district to breach the standards of ethical conduct set forth in the Texas Education Code.
- It is a breach of ethics for any employee of a school district to participate directly or indirectly in procurement when the employee knows that:
- The employee or any member of the employee’s immediate family has a financial interest pertaining to the procurement;
- A business or organization in which the employee, or any member of the employee’s immediate family, has a financial interest pertaining to the procurement; or
- Any other person, business or organization with whom the employee or any member of the employee’s immediate family is negotiating or has an arrangement concerning prospective employment is involved in the procurement.
If the school district board member or other official has a substantial interest in procurement, that person shall abstain from discussion and decisions regarding the award of the procurement contract. (See Local Government Code, Chapter 17.002, for definition of substantial interest.) In addition, the board member should disclose this substantial interest by filing an affidavit with the district.
It is a breach of ethics to offer, give or agree to give any employee or former employee of the school district, or for any employee or former employee of the school district to solicit, demand, accept or agree to accept from another person, a gratuity or an offer of employment in connection with any decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, preparation of any part of a program requirement or purchase request, influencing the contact of any specification or procurement standard, rendering of advice, investigation, auditing, or in any other advisory capacity in any proceeding or application, request for ruling, determination, claim or controversy, or other particular matter pertaining to any program requirement or a contract or subcontract, or to any solicitation or proposal therefore pending before this government. Acceptance of gratuities may be construed as a criminal offense.
It is a breach of ethics for any payment, gratuity or offer of employment to be made by or on behalf of a subcontractor under a contract to the prime contractor or higher tier subcontractor for any contract of a school district, or any person associated therewith, as an inducement for the award of a subcontract or order.
6. Contract Clause
The prohibition against gratuities and kickbacks prescribed above should be conspicuously set forth in every contract and solicitation therefore.
It is a breach of ethics for any employee or former employee of the school district to knowingly use confidential information for actual or anticipated personal gain, or for the actual or anticipated gain of any person.
Enforcement of Purchase Procedures: Criminal Penalties; Removal; Ineligibility.
Texas Education Code-Subchapter B. -Sec. 44.032.
a. In this section:
- Component purchases means purchases of the component parts of an item that in normal purchasing practices would be purchased in one purchase.
- Separate purchases means purchases, made separately, of items that in normal purchasing practices would be purchased in one purchase.
- Sequential purchases means purchases, made over a period, of items that in normal purchasing practices would be purchased in one purchase.
b. An officer, employee, or agent of a school district commits an offense if the person with criminal negligence makes or authorizes separate, sequential or component purchases to avoid the requirements of Section 44.031 (a) or (b). An offense under this subsection is a Class B misdemeanor and is an offense involving moral turpitude.
c. An officer, employee, or agent of a school district commits an offense if the person with criminals negligence violates Section 44.031 (a) or (b) other than by conduct described by Subsection (b). An offense under this subsection is a Class B misdemeanor land is an offence involving moral turpitude.
d. An officer or employee of a school district commits an offense if the officer or employee knowingly violates Section 44.031, other than by conduct described by Subsection (b) or (c). Any offense under this subsection is a Class C misdemeanor.
e. The final conviction of a person other than a trustee of a school district for an offense under Subsection (b) or (c) results in the immediate removal from office or employment of that person. A trustee who is convicted of an offense under this section is considered to have committed official misconduct for purposes of Chapter 87, Local Government Code, and is subject to removal as provided by that chapter and Section 21, Article T, Texas Constitution. For four years after the date of the final conviction, the removed person is ineligible to be a candidate for or to be appointed or elected to a public office in this state, is ineligible to be employed by or act as an agent for the state or a political subdivision of the state. This subsection does not prohibit the payment of retirement benefits to the removed person or the payment of retirement benefits to the removed person or payment of worker’s compensation benefits to the removed person for an injury that occurred before the commission of the offense for which the person was removed. This subsection does not make a person ineligible for an office for which the federal or state constitution prescribes exclusive eligibility requirements.
f. A court may enjoin performance of a contract made in violation of Section 44.031 (a) or (b). A county attorney, a district attorney, a criminal district attorney, or a citizen of the county in which the school district is located may bring action for an injunction. A citizen who prevails in an action brought under this subsection is entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees as approved by the court.
Reference: BBF (Local), BBFA (Legal), BBFA (Exhibits), DBD (Local), DBD (Legal), DCD (Legal), DH (Local), DH (Exhibit), Government Code 553, Subchapter A, Government Code 573.023b