2340 - Conflict Of Interest


It is imperative that board members comply with the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act when participating in board action. This policy provides a synopsis of three situations when a board member could have a conflict of interest while participating in board action. The three situations are: (1) hiring of an immediate family member; (2) contracting with the school district; and (3) other conflicts that could result in a financial benefit or detriment for a board member.

Hiring of an Immediate Family Member

A school board member may hire, supervise the hiring of, or recommend the hiring of an immediate family member if:

  1. He or she does not abuse his or her official position.
  2. He or she makes a reasonable solicitation and consideration of applications for employment.
  3. He or she disclose the matter to the school board either on the record or in writing.
  4. The school board approves the employment or supervisory position.

The term immediate family member means a child residing in an individual's household, a spouse of an individual, or an individual claimed by that individual or that individual's spouse as a dependent for federal income tax purposes.

Abuse of official position includes, but is not limited to, employing an immediate family member who:

  1. Is not qualified for and able to perform the duties of the position;
  2. Is paid an unreasonably high salary; or
  3. Is not required to perform the duties of the position.

In the event that an immediate family member was employed by the school district prior to the time that the school board member was elected or appointed, the school board member shall make the required disclosure as soon as reasonably possible after taking office. (Use NADC Form C-4)

Contracts

A school board member may not have an interest in a contract with the school district unless:

  1. The contract is an agenda item at a board meeting.
  2. The interested board member makes a declaration on the record of the school board of his or her interest in the contract. This disclosure must be made prior to the consideration of the matter by the board. It may be made at the meeting as long as the disclosure is made part of the minutes of the meeting. It may be made in writing and filed with the person who normally keeps records for the board.
  3. The interested board member does not vote on the matters of granting the contract, making payments pursuant to the contract, accepting performance under the contract, or similar matters relating to the contract.

The prohibition against having an interest in a contract only applies when a board member, his or her spouse, parent or child has a "business association" as defined below or will receive a fee or commission as the result of the contract.

Business Defined: any corporation, partnership, limited liability company, sole proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, organization, self-employed individual, holding company, joint-stock company, receivership, trust, activity, or entity. NOTE: The definition of "business" does not distinguish between for-profit and non-profit entities. Either can be a "business".

Business Association Defined: A business in which the individual is a partner, limited liability company member, director, or officer; or a business in which the individual or immediate family member of the individual is a stockholder. If closed corporate stock, the stock must have a value of $1,000 or more or represent more than a five percent equity interest. If publicly traded stock, the stock must have a value of $10,000 or more or represent more than a ten percent equity interest.

Receiving deposits, cashing of checks, and buying and selling of warrants and bonds of indebtedness of a school district is not considered a contract for the purposes of this section.

If a school board member's parent, spouse or child is an employee of the school district, the board member may vote on all issues of the contract which are generally applicable to (1) all employees or (2) all employees within a classification and do not single out his or her parent, spouse, or child for special action.

Other Conflicts of Interest

This section does not apply if either subsection "Hiring of Family Members" or subsection "Contracts" apply.

A school board member has a potential conflict of interest if he or she is faced with taking an official action or making an official decision which could result in a financial benefit or detriment to:

  1. The school board member;
  2. A member of his or her immediate family; or
  3. A business with which he or she is associated.

The financial benefit or detriment must be distinguishable from that experienced by the general public or a broad segment of it.

If the school board member has a potential conflict of interest he or she is required to:

Prepare a written statement describing the matter requiring action or decision and the nature of the potential interest (Use NADC Form C-2 - attached to policy);

Deliver a copy to the person who keeps records for the school board; and

Take such action as the Commission shall prescribe to remove himself or herself from influence over the matter.

Reference: Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act,

                    Neb. Rev. Stat. § 49-1425; § 49-14,101; § 49-14,102; § 49-14,103;

                    § 49-14,103.01; § 49-14,103.02; § 49-14,103.03; § 49-14,103.04;

                    § 49-14,103.05; § 49-14,103.06; § 79-818; § 79-544 and § 49-1499.

 


Policy Adopted: 12-13-01

Policy Revised: 06-12-2014

Policy Revised: 09-08-2016