BOARD MEMBER CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Board members must be able to make decisions objectively.† It is a conflict of interest for a board member to receive anything other than reimbursement of actual and necessary expenses, including travel, incurred in the performance of official duties.† Board members are not allowed to receive per diem reimbursement.
There is no absolute statutory prohibition on the employment of a spouse of a board member but statutes do set some conditions on the employment of family members such as ability to perform the duties of the position.† If the board chooses to prohibit the hiring of a spouse of a board member, language should be inserted into the policy stating ďit shall be a conflict of interest for the board to hire the spouse of a board member or do business with the spouse of a board member during the term of the board member.Ē† The board may also choose to exercise its discretion regarding the hiring of immediate family members other than the spouse of a board member.
It shall be the responsibility of each board member to be aware of an actual or potential conflict of interest.† It shall also be the responsibility of each board member to take the action necessary to eliminate such a conflict of interest.† Should a conflict of interest arise, a board member should not participate in any action relating to the issue from which the conflict arose.
No voting board member may have an interest in any contract to which the district, or anyone for its benefit, is party.† The prohibition applies when the board member or the board memberís immediate family is a partner, director, officer, or is a stockholder of closed corporation stock worth one thousand dollars or more at fair market value or which represents more than a five per cent equity interest, or is a stockholder of publicly traded stock worth ten thousand dollars or more at fair market value or which represents more than ten percent equity interest.† An individual who occupies a confidential professional relationship protected by law is exempt from this policy.† This policy does not apply to publicly traded stock under a trading account.
The above prohibition does not apply if the voting board member:
1. Supplies a written statement describing the matter up for decision and the nature of the conflict to the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission and to the board secretary.† The secretary shall enter the statement onto the public records of the district.
2. The board member must take such action as the Commission advises to remove himself or herself from influence over the decision.
Approved _______________ Reviewed ______________ Revised _______________
3. Does not vote on the matter of granting the contract, except if the number of members of the board declaring an interest in the contract would prevent the board, with all members present, from securing a quorum on the issue, then all members may vote on the matter and this action will be reported to the commission; and
4. Does not act for the district to inspect, supervise or determine the performance of contracts under which he or she has an interest.
A board member who is an employee of a business involved in a contract with the district and who has no ownership interest or will receive no direct fee or commission shall not be deemed to have an interest within the meaning of this policy.† The receiving of deposits, cashing of checks and buying and selling of warrants and bonds of indebtedness of any school district by a financial institution will not be considered an interest in the contract under this policy.
If a board memberís immediate family member is an employee of the school district, the member may vote on all issues of the contract which are generally applicable to all employees or all employees within a classification and do not single out his or her family member for special action.
Any contract entered into with an interested board member shall be subject to applicable competitive bidding requirements and shall be fair and reasonable to the school district.
A voting board member or district employee may employ, recommend the employment of, or supervise the employment of an immediate family member if he or she does not abuse his or her official position and makes a full disclosure of the relationship to the board and a written disclosure of the relationship to the board secretary.† No board member or administrator shall employ an immediate family member without first having made a reasonable solicitation and consideration of applications for such employment.† The family member must be qualified for, able to perform, and required to perform the duties of the position.† The family member must not be paid an unreasonably high salary.† No existing employee may be terminated for the purpose of making a position available to such a family member.
Any newly elected or appointed board member or administrator shall make a full disclosure of any immediate family member employed in a position subject to this policy as soon as reasonably possible after the date of taking office.
No board member or district employee shall use their position or any confidential information received through their position to obtain financial gain, other than compensation provided by law, for himself or herself, an immediate family member, or a business with which the individual is associated.† No board member shall use or authorize the use of personnel, property, resources or funds under his or her official care for the purpose of campaigning for or against the nomination or election of a candidate or the qualification, passage or defeat of a ballot question.
The superintendent shall keep a record for the district for every contract entered into by the district in which a board member has an interest.† This information shall be kept for five years from the date of the board memberís last day in office and will include the following:
1. Names of contracting parties;
2. The nature of the interest of the board member in question;
3. The date that the contract was approved by the district;
4. The amount of the contract; and
5. Basic terms of the contract.
The record kept by the superintendent shall be available for public inspection during the normal working hours of the superintendentís office.
All board members and district employees are responsible for obeying all final rulings or appeals of the Accountability and Disclosure Commission. If a case is contested before the Commission by the district, the superintendent shall ensure that the district is represented at the hearing.† If a case is contested by a board member, that member shall be responsible for his/her own representation and shall be responsible for any Commission fines or penalties.
An open account established by the district with a business in which a board member has an interest, shall be deemed a contract subject to the provisions of this policy.† The superintendent shall maintain a running account of all amounts purchased in open accounts.
Contracts involving one hundred dollars or less in which a board member may have an interest are excluded from the provisions of this policy.
Legal Reference:†††††††††††††††††††††† Nebraska Statute 49-1493 to 14,103.7
Cross Reference:††††††††††††††††††††† 201††††† Legal Status of the School Board
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 202.01 Board Member Code of Ethics
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 206.04 Board Member Compensation and Expenses
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 402.04 Nepotism††††††††††††††††††††