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GBCC Conflict of Interest

Adopted:   December 1, 2009
Reaffirmed: November 25, 2013

Conflict of Interest

A conflict of interest is a situation where an individual (trustee, officer, staff member or volunteer “personnel” of Fort McMurray Public School District), of the organization he or she represents or has an interest in, has a real, potential or perceived, direct or indirect competing interest with Fort McMurray Public School District activities. This competing interest may result in the individual, or others related to them or entities in which they have an interest, being in a position to benefit from the situation or in Fort McMurray Public School District not being able to achieve a result which would be in the best interest of Fort McMurray Public School District. Conflict under this policy shall be interpreted broadly.

Policy

The Board of Trustees believes in the highest level of ethical conduct and has a responsibility to ensure the protection and prudent use of resources in the district, for the betterment of students.

General Guidelines

  1. In carrying out their duties, personnel of Fort McMurray Public School District shall:
    1. Ethical Standard – act with honesty and uphold the highest ethical standards in order to honor and enhance public confidence in Fort McMurray Public School District ability to act in the public interest for long term public good.
    2. Public Scrutiny – perform their official duties and arrange their private affairs in a manner that will bear the closest public scrutiny, an obligation that is not necessarily fully discharged by simply acting within the law.
    3. Decision Making – in fulfilling their official duties and responsibilities, make decisions in the interest of Fort McMurray Public School District, with a view to the public interest, and with regard to the merits of each case.
    4. Private Interests – disclose fully any private interests that could be affected by Fort McMurray Public School District actions or that could put ethical practice at risk.
    5. Public Interest – arrange their private affairs in a manner that will prevent real, potential or apparent conflicts of interest from arising; but if such a conflict does arise between the private interests of an individual and the official duties and responsibilities of that individual, the conflict shall be disclosed and resolved in favor of the interest of Fort McMurray Public School District.
    6. Gifts and Benefits – not solicit or accept transfer of economic benefit, other than incidental gifts, customary hospitality, or other benefits of nominal value form persons, groups or organizations having, or likely to have, dealings with Fort McMurray Public School District unless the transfer is pursuant to an enforceable contract or property right of the Trustee.
    7. Preferential Treatment – not step out of their official roles to assist private entities or persons in their dealings with Fort McMurray Public School District where this would result in preferential treatment to any person or organization.
    8. Insider Information – not knowingly take advantage of, or benefit from, material information that is not generally available to the public that is obtained in the course of their official duties and responsibilities.
    9. Fort McMurray Public School District Property – not directly or indirectly use, or allow the use of Fort McMurray Public School District property of any kind, for anything other than officially approved activities.
  2. Interpretation – Any conflict which may arise between an individual and Fort McMurray Public School District shall be resolved in favour of Fort McMurray Public School District’s best interest. In referencing below actions which must not be taken by personnel of Fort McMurray Public School District, such as actions may, in fact, be taken if, in the discretion of the Associate Superintendent of Business and Finance, the Principles have been upheld and full disclosure has been made.
  3. Restrictions on Members of the Board of Trustees – Members must not be involved in any business, commercial of financial transaction with Fort McMurray Public School District. If a member is aware of such in interest they must not be part of the decision making process.
  4. Conflicts – Officers and staff of Fort McMurray Public School District must not have a business, commercial or financial interest in any transaction or initiative which would conflict with the conduct of their duties within Fort McMurray Public School District, the best interests of Fort McMurray Public School District or the carrying out of Fort McMurray Public School District objectives.
  5. Obligations to Others – Personnel of Fort McMurray Public School District must not be compromised by obligation to anyone who may benefit from the individual’s special consideration with respect to Fort McMurray Public School District matters.
  6. Commitments – Personnel of Fort McMurray Public School District must ensure that their actions do not commit Fort McMurray Public School District to unreasonable financial or other liabilities and that all commitments and actions on behalf of Fort McMurray Public School District are made according to Fort McMurray Public School District By-Laws, policies and regulations.
  7. General Conflict Disclosure – All activities involving business, commercial or financial interests, whether real, potential or apparent, which may conflict with the interest of Fort McMurray Public School District or the duties of the individual, must be promptly disclosed to the Associate Superintendent of Business and Finance or the Superintendent.
  8. Influence – Personnel of Fort McMurray Public School District must not use his or her position or influence to secure employment, funding or special treatment for family members or business associates.
  9. Voting – A member of the Board of Trustees shall not vote to approve any contract, grant, award, contribution, or situation involving a conflict, whether real, potential or apparent, which includes their participation, directly, or in directly.

Disclosure Procedure and Criteria

Disclosure – of a conflict of interest, whether real, potential or apparent, must take place as soon as the individual becomes aware of the conflict. This may be, for example, in the case of a contract, at a meeting when an individual becomes aware that a contract is being proposed or considered, at the first opportunity after an individual becomes interested in an existing or proposed contract, or at the first possible moment when they become involved with Fort McMurray Public School District and a contract pre-exists.

General Notice – a written notice to the Associate Superintendent of Business and Finance or the Superintendent of the Fort McMurray Public School District shall be sufficient declaration of interest with respect to any contract.

Confidential Notice – in the event that the matter to be disclosed is of a confidential or sensitive nature which would cause undue prejudice through open disclosure, then such matters may be disclosed in confidence to the Associate Superintendent of Business and Finance or the Superintendent of Schools. If after receiving such disclosure the Associate Superintendent of Business and Finance determines that such matters, in the discretion of the Associate Superintendent of Business and Finance, are not of a confidential or sensitive nature or that the principles or interests of Fort McMurray Public School District would not be fulfilled without full and open disclosure, then the Associate Superintendent of Business and Finance shall notify the disclosing individual of same and give such individual the opportunity to make such full disclosure. If the affected individual fails to make such disclosure, it shall then be considered a breach of this policy.

Final Determination – the Associate Superintendent of Business and Finance or as it may delegate, shall determine in each case whether or not a disclosed interest is acceptable and may continue. The criteria for acceptability may vary and may include, without limit, those principles considered relevant by the Associate Superintendent of Business and Finance.

Remedy – where a disclosed interest is determined to be unacceptable by the Associate Superintendent of Business and Finance, the contract or other conflict shall be amended to remove the offending provisions or be terminated, such determination to be made by the Associate Superintendent of Business and Finance or its delegate.

Exceptions – The requirement that a Member of the Board of Trustees not vote with respect to the approval of a conflict or a contract in which they may have an interest shall not apply to contracts relating to honorarium, reimbursement of expenses, indemnity or insurance as permitted under appropriate Canadian legislation, By-Laws of Fort McMurray Public School District and policy.

Relief – The following factors alone will not invalidate a relationship between Fort McMurray Public School District and an individual (or an enterprise in which the individual has an interest):

  1. the fact that the individual has an interest in such relationship; or
  2. the fact that a Trustee with an interest in the contract or situation attended a meeting at which a decision about the relationship was made;

so long as the situation was reasonable and fair to Fort McMurray Public School District at the time it was approved, such reasonability to be determined by the Associate Superintendent of Business and Finance, absent the individual involved.

Dissemination of this Policy

Dissemination – personnel of Fort McMurray Public School District shall be informed of this policy.

Compliance by Others – personnel of Fort McMurray Public School District must use reasonable efforts to ensure that the activities of other individuals in Fort McMurray Public School District comply with Fort McMurray Public School District’s policies and guidelines.

Consequences

Reservation of Right – Where an individual fails to disclose a conflict or an interest according to this policy or according to other laws or regulations in Canada, Fort McMurray Public School District reserves all rights which it may have to deal with the contract, grant, award, contribution, research project, or conflict and individual involved.

Consequences – Failure to comply with these policies may lead to disciplinary measures which may include removal from the position the individual holds in Fort McMurray Public School District. In certain circumstances, conflicts of interest may lead to legal claims being made against the individuals involved.

References

Legal Reference:

Alberta School Act: Sections 45(8) Division 3

Cross Reference:

Policy GCN Evaluation of Teachers

Policy GCAG – Teachers

Policy GBCB – CUPE Code of Conduct

Policy GDQ – CUPE Discipline Policy

 

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