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Ethics

Ethic laws were enacted to prevent both actual and apparent conflicts of interests between official duties and private interests. The Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011 (PIRA) became effective on August 15, 2011. It established the Joint Commission of Public Ethics (JCOPE) which expanded the existing functions and jurisdiction of the former Commission on Public Integrity. The jurisdiction of JCOPE includes all SUNY employees. Read more in A Plain Language Guide to the State Ethics Laws.

Ethic laws and regulations applicable to SUNY employees include:

  • Public Officers Law Section 73: Outside employment and professional activities, restriction on political activities, nepotism, gifts, honorarium, travel, negotiations on future employment, and post-employment restrictions.
  • Public Officers Law Section 73-A: Financial Disclosure Statements ~ All covered agency employees who are 'FDS Filers' under the Public Officers Law Section 73 must file their financial disclosures.
  • Public Officers Law Section 74: The Code of Ethics & Conflict of Interests: Faculty and staff of the State University of New York (University) are encouraged to foster an atmosphere of academic freedom by promoting the open and timely exchange of scholarly knowledge independent of personal interests and are required to avoid conflicts of interest.
  • Civil Service Law Section 107: Political Activity
  • Also required to file an FDS:
    • Individuals designated as policy makers by their Agency; and
    • Employees with an annual salary rate in excess of the "filing rate" of a SG-24 CSEA equivalent ($90,020 in 2014).
    • In general, part-time employees who serve in a position with an annual full time salary that exceeds the "filing rate" are still required to file an FDS even if they actually receive less than the "filing rate" amount in any year.
    • Mandatory Ethics Trainings for FDS Filers:
      • JCOPE Online Ethics Trainings for all FDS Filers (Available on SLMS)
        • Individuals who are newly-subject to the FDS filing requirement are required to complete the JCOPE Online Ethics Orientation within three months from they date they became a Policy Maker or a Threshold Filer (either through being newly-hired, promoted or transferred).
      • Comprehensive Ethics Training Course: Two-hour Live
        • FDS Filers are required to complete the Comprehensive Ethics Training Course ("CETC") within two years from the date they became a Policy Maker or Threshold Filer (either through being newly-hired, promoted or transferred).
        • New FDS Filers who complete the CETC within three months from the date they became a Policy Maker or Threshold Filer are not required to take the Online Ethics Orientation.
      • Ethics Seminar: 90 minute, Live
        • On a continuing basis, FDS Filers are required to complete the Ethics Seminar every three years from the date they completed the CETC.
        • The Ethics Seminar is an update on any changes in the applicable ethics laws, regulations and policies.

Requests Employees Must Make In Advance of Receiving Payment or Performing Service:

Ethics chart


Honoraria

Honoraria is any payment, which may take the form of a fee or any other compensation, made to a Covered Person in consideration for a service performed that is not part of his or her official duties. Such service includes, but is not limited to, delivering a speech, writing, or publishing an article, or participating in any public or private conference, convention, meeting, or similar event. Honorarium shall also include expenses incurred for travel, lodging, and meals related to the service performed. Please use the form linked to below to request advanced approval for an honorarium.

Request Form

Honoraria Policy PDF

Exemption: "A member of the faculty (including an adjunct member of the faculty) at the State University of New York...  is exempt from section 930.4 and section 930.5, provided the service performed by such member of the faculty is within the subject matter of his or her official academic discipline." Therefore, prior approval of an honorarium request is not required by academic employees. 


Official Activity Expense Payment

An Official Activity Expense Payment is a payment or reimbursement for the cost of attendance, registration, travel, food, or lodging related to a person’s official activity.  Official activity is a person’s attendance or service at a meeting, conference, seminar, convention, or professional program that is part of his or her official duties and benefits their State agency. Please use this form to request approval of Official Activity Expense Payment. 

Request Form

Activity Expense Policy PDF


Outside Activity (for policymakers only)

Within the University, policy-makers generally are considered to be those employees at the level of Dean and above at the campuses and Associate vice chancellor and above in the system administration. All policy-makers are prohibited from serving as an officer of a political party or political organization or as a member of a national committee of a political party. The regulations further require that salaried policy-makers obtain the prior approval of their appointing authority (campus or system administration) and the State Ethics Commission before:

  • Holding other public office or engaging in other public employment for more than nominal compensation;

  • Engaging in any private employment, business or other activity (including not-for-profit) for more than the defined nominal compensation; and

  • Serving as director or officer of a for-profit corporation or institution, regardless of compensation.

Please use the applicable form to request approval for Outside Activity. 

Campus Request Form

JCOPE Request Form (if over $5,000)

Outside Activity Policy PDF


Gifts

According to NYS Education Law §355(2)(a), the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York is authorized to accept gifts and bequests in support of educational and other corporate purposes of the SUNY University. The Board of Trustees has delegated this authority to campus presidents or designees with respect to gifts and bequests not to exceed $1 million. With respect to gifts and bequests to a campus of cash or personal property of value in excess of $1 million and gifts and bequests to a campus of real property regardless of value, the Board of Trustees has delegated acceptance authority to the chancellor or designee.The chancellor has delegated to the Secretary of the University the authority to accept gifts and bequests.

Gifts Policy PDF


Agency Ethics Officers

Each agency designates an Ethics Officer to provide guidance to these individuals on compliance with the ethics laws. In addition, the Ethics Officer has the responsibility to ensure that both the agency and its personnel comply with the legal obligations related to the following subjects:

  1. Requirements to File an Annual Financial Disclosure Statement
  2. Mandatory Ethics Training for FDS Filers
  3. Approvals for Outside Activities
  4. Approvals for Honoraria
  5. Approvals for Official Activity Expense Payments
  6. Acceptance of Gifts (including Widely Attended Events)

Please contact the Geneseo Ethics Officers, Julie Briggs or Brice Weigman with any questions. 

Julie Briggs
Office Phone: (585)245-5616
E-Mail: briggsja@geneseo.edu            

Brice Weigman
Office Phone: (585)245-5606
Mail: weigman@geneseo.edu


Ethics Tips

Writing a letter? Avoid using agency letterhead!

Check here before working or volunteering outside the office.

Remember the 30-day rule when looking for a new job.

Read this before your agency contracts with a former employee.