Ethics Handbook
Appendix E.

Examples of Conflict of Interest

The following examples are provided to give you an idea how Springfield's Code of Ethics would be applied. Of course, each situation will be decided upon the unique fact circumstances involved. The goal of these examples -- and indeed of this entire Handbook -- is to help develop greater sensitivity to ethical considerations. If you are in doubt of what you should do, choose not to participate.

  1. Conflicts of Interest.

    Listed below are illustrative examples of situations involving violations of Springfield's Code of Ethics.

    1. Geoffrey Gates serves on the Mayor's Commission on Human Rights. Gates is asked to be the treasurer of Citizen Barbara Jones' committee supporting her candidacy as Council-member. Gates refuses the treasurer position but serves on the committee to promote her candidacy. City Charter Section 15.5 prohibits a board member from serving on a committee to promote the candidacy of a City Council candidate.
    2. Art Museum Board member Margaret Wilson owns a one-third interest in a sheep farm and spinning business from which the Art Museum purchases wool, looms, and spinning wheels for a textile-arts demonstration work-shop. City Charter Section 19.16 prohibits a board member from selling materials or supplies to the board on which he or she serves.
    3. Rodney Bolton served on the Special Business District Advisory Board for three years. Two months after leaving the board a group of businesspeople pay Bolton to speak to the board on their behalf to try and get the board to favor their plans pending before the board. Any attempt to influence a decision of a board on which one serves within one year of service is prohibited by RSMo 105.454(5).
    4. Board of Public Utilities member, Seymore Maples, tells in detail to his neighbor discussions held during a session of the board which was closed to discuss personnel issues. Springfield City Code Sec. 2-161(c)2.A prohibits disclosure of confidential information.
  2. No Conflict of Interest Exists.

    Listed below are illustrative examples of situations which do not involve violations of Springfield's Code of Ethics for Board Members.

    1. Dr. W. T. Chow, member of the Parks Board, discloses at a public meeting that his niece (his sister's daughter) is the principal owner of one of the companies bidding to get the construction contract for playground equipment, and he abstains from discussion and voting on the acceptance of any bids. Dr. Chow has avoided the appearance of conflict by revealing a potential connection to the bids. Springfield City Code Sec. 2-161(a)2.
    2. Cable Television Advisory Commission member Jane Olson refuses a gift of a color television and VCR for her Girl Scout Troop from Citizen Gordon Smith after a heated discussion at a public meeting of Cable Television Advisory Commission where Smith's opinions were supported by Olson. Accepting any money or anything of value in return for an action or inaction as a board member is prohibited by RSMo 105.452(1) and Springfield City Code Sec. 2161(c)2.D.
    3. Art Museum Board member Margaret Wilson owns a one-third interest in a sheep farm and spinning business from which the Parks Department purchased wool, looms, and spinning wheels for a textile-arts demonstration workshop. City Charter Section 19.16 prohibits a board member from selling materials or supplies to the board on which he or she serves, only.
    4. Traffic Advisory Board member, A. J. Million, receives a special award of a paper weight from the local chapter of the American Red Cross for donating his second gallon of blood. This is not a conflict of accepting a gift, for it would have been given if he was not a board member. Springfield City Code Sec. 2-161(c)2.D.
    5. Two years after serving on the Parks Board, James Leach is hired by the Parks Board to review proposals for park development in Northeast Springfield. City Charter Sec. 15.5 prohibition of hiring former members of an administrative board by that board is for only one year.

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