Conflict of Interest Policy
Conflict of interest policy
University of Missouri Extension employees shall faithfully discharge their duties and shall refrain from knowingly engaging in any outside matters of financial interest incompatible with the impartial, objective and effective performance of their duties. They shall not realize personal gain in any form that would influence improperly the conduct of their University of Missouri Extension duties. They shall not knowingly use university or University of Missouri Extension property, funds, position or power for personal or political gain. They shall inform their supervisors in writing of reasonably foreseen potential conflicts.
Conflict of interest relates to several activities:
- Ownership and operation of a business
- Serving as an expert witness
- Private-sector support of programming
- Commodity trading
- Activity in political parties
- Election or appointment to public office
The University of Missouri Collected Rules and Regulations address several, but not all, of these activities. University of Missouri Extension policies are consistent with university policies, but in some instances go beyond university policy because of the unique nature of the extension function and the requirements of the federal partner, CSREES/USDA.
Consultation, 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 when the entity for which the employee consults transacts business with the university or University of Missouri Extension or is in competition with the university or University of Missouri Extension, or where the consultation itself competes with the work of the university or University of Missouri Extension.
It is the policy of the university and University of Missouri Extension to permit consulting activities which
- have been reviewed by the immediate supervisor,
- are outside the state of Missouri,
- do not interfere with regular duties,
- do not use university or University of Missouri Extension materials, facilities or resources except as provided in the University Business Policy and Procedure Classification Code 01-21 dated May 1, 1979,
- are done on a person's own time or approved leave,
- contribute to the person's professional development,
- do not compete with the work of the university or University of Missouri Extension, and are not otherwise contrary to the best interest of the University or University of Missouri Extension,
- do not violate federal or state law, and
- do not represent a conflict of interest under other policies of the university or University of Missouri Extension.
An annual report is made to the Vice Provost for University of Missouri Extension indicating the aggregate time and compensation for services performed by each individual engaged in consulting.
Ownership/operation of a business
Determination should be made of employee time commitments to manage, operate, or be involved in a commercial business (including farming). If appreciable employee time is required away from the University of Missouri Extension job, suitable arrangements need to be made (i.e., time arrangements, business divestiture, or employee termination). Outside employment or business ventures which may conflict with the employee's job requirements, or appear to conflict, require the review of the Vice Provost for University of Missouri Extension or his/her designee. The time spent on outside employment or business must be done on the employee's personal time. The employee's business must not compete unfairly with similar private businesses. The employee must not have an unfair advantage over other businesses because of special University of Missouri Extension job related knowledge.
Selling articles or programs to media about work-related programs is prohibited.
If your business might do business with the University of Missouri, Lincoln University or County Extension Councils, refer to Collected Rules and Regulations, University of Missouri.
Serving as an expert witness
Any staff member may serve as an expert witness with or without subpoena, provided that if serving under subpoena, the employee shall report to the superior. If serving without subpoena, arrangements shall first be made with the staff member's immediate superior for leave from duties during the necessary time required to serve as such witness.
All staff members serving as an expert witness shall be entitled to retain all compensation received as such, and no deduction shall be made from their regular compensation. Any staff member serving as an expert witness shall report the compensation received as such to the immediate superior, who shall in turn report it to the Vice Provost for University of Missouri Extension.
Caution and professional judgment must be exercised by each employee when using any brand name in any service, work product, or program.
Clarification of potential conflicts should be sought from the immediate supervisor. It is appropriate to publicly recognize and acknowledge private sector support, however, no endorsement of product or services should be provided.
It is appropriate to accept monies from the private sector to support programs and objectives of University of Missouri Extension. Also, it is appropriate to recognize organizations' contributions, but acknowledge that acceptance of support is not an endorsement of contributors' products orservices by the university or University of Missouri Extension.
Commodity trading (buying and selling)
If the employee's job assignment closely involves the commodities in question, the employee needs to disclose involvement in trading activities. A determination must be made regarding whether the employee's involvement presents unfair competition to others trading such commodities. If the activity appears to conflict with the employee's job time or assignment, a review by the Vice Provost for University of Missouri Extension or a designee is required before further activity is undertaken.
Issues of public debate
University of Missouri Extension employees must be objective in dealing with topics that are controversial or an issue of public debate. Employees have a responsibility to provide facts of the issue equally to all interested members of the public, regardless of their views concerning such issue. Employees primarily involved with one client group are governed by the same requirements of objectivity as those with varied clienteles.
Activity in political party organizations
University of Missouri Extension employees may engage in lawful political activities:
- Of organizations of political parties qualified to place candidates on the ballot in accordance with Missouri Statutes or of political parties seeking such qualification,
- Of nonpartisan or bipartisan groups seeking the election of candidates to public office or the approval or disapproval of issues that are or may be submitted to the voters for approval,
- On behalf of individual candidates for public office, including candidates for membership of any political committee established by Chapter 120, R.S.Mo.
Such activity, like any other personal, non-official undertaking, must be done on the individual's own time and should not interfere with university duties.
Employees may contribute personal funds to any of the above parties, groups or candidates or expend funds on behalf of the above parties, groups, candidates or issues, subject only to state and federal laws that regulate political contributions.
Election to or holding public office
Any staff member, before he/she announces officially as a candidate for or accepts any elective office, must inform his/her superior officer of such intention, and such officer must make the fact known to the Provost of the university through the Vice Provost. If the regulations permit, the Provost will offer no objection to the candidacy, provided it does not require time or attention that should be given to university or University of Missouri Extension duties.
Subject to the requirements of Notice to the Provost, a member may, without permission of the Provost, become a candidate for and hold a position as a member of a school board, member of a city council, member of a county legislative body, or other local school or municipal office, which is part time. In case of doubt, the Provost shall decide if the candidacy is permissible under these regulations. Such activity must be conducted on the individual's own time, and shall not interfere with university or University of Missouri Extension duties.
The holding of any elective full-time office in local, county, state or federal government is forbidden while the person is serving on the University of Missouri Extension staff. Before accepting such an office, a person is required to resign his/her university post. A person seeking election to such an office must resign or request a leave of absence as of the date of filing in the primary.