Tutorial for Appointed Officials

 

Question 1:

A county elective official is at a conference and is invited to attend a cocktail reception. The cocktail reception has an open bar. The reception is open to everyone who is in attendance at the conference. May the official attend?

 

 
 

Question 2:

A county elective official is attending a golf tournament at a county park. A cocktail reception with an open bar is included for all attendees. However, there is also a special V.I.P. tent by invitation only. A lobbyist invites the official to join him in the “V.I.P. tent” where he will be served beverages by staff instead of having to wait in line. The lobbyist tells him that only a select few are invited. May the official go to the V.I.P. tent?

 

 
 

Question 3:

Under the same set of facts in Question 2, may the official attend the reception in the V.I.P. tent if he pays for his own drinks instead of accepting the complimentary beverages?

 

 
 

Question 4:

An appointed official owns a small private corporation. Must the official disclose the corporation on her Statement of Economic Interests form?

 

 
 

Question 5:

An appointed official also works as an accountant in addition to his responsibilities as an appointed official. The accounting business is not incorporated – the official works as a sole proprietor. Must the official disclose the sole proprietorship on his Statement of Economic Interests form?

 

 
 
 

Question 6: 

Some county appointed officials have been asked to attend a conference hosted by a national association. The conference hosts offer to pay for food, transportation and lodging. May the officials accept?

 

 
 
 

Question 7:

A county appointed official’s spouse serves on the board of directors for a non-profit organization in Chicago. Must the official disclose this on her Statement of Economic Interests?

 

 
 
 

Question 8:

An appointed official decided to attend a work-related conference out of state. Since the conference is work-related, the county pays for everything: airfare, hotel, food and the conference registration fee. But, when the official gets there, instead of attending the conference, he decides he would rather sightsee. The official registers on the first day of the conference but does not attend any of the sessions and tours the city instead. Is this an Ethics Code violation?

 

 
 
 

Question 9:

A person who really wants a contract with the county contacts an appointed official and offers to give Milwaukee Bucks tickets to the official if the official will vote in favor of his company’s proposal. What should the official do?

 
 
 
 

Question 10:

An appointed official is going to an out-of-state conference related to his duties as an appointed official. Since the conference is county-related, the county is paying for all expenses of the appointed official. May the official invite his wife to accompany him on the trip at no cost to the county?

 
 
 
 

Question 11:

An appointed official receives two theater tickets from a lobbyist who lobbies the county. The official accepts the tickets and reports them on his Statement of Economic Interests form. Is this permissible?

 
 
 
 

Question 12:

An appointed official is in the process of approving a contract as part of his committee duties. Since the appointed official works his “day job” during the week, the official’s business contact invites him to discuss business in his luxury box during a Saturday Bucks’ game. Is this permissible under the Ethics Code?

 
 
 
 

Question 13:

An appointed official pays a fee to attend a conference hosted by a company (vendor) doing business with the department with which the appointed official is associated. The conference relates to the appointed official’s duties and includes breakfast, lunch and a reception/dinner with keynote speaker. May the official attend the conference and partake of all the meals offered?

 

a.            Yes, the conference is related to the official’s duties and the meals are incidental to the conference.

 

b.            No, the official can only attend the conference, but has to pay for all meals separately.

 

c.            No, because the conference and the meals are sponsored by a company that does business with the department with which the appointed official is associated.

 
 
 
 

Question 14:

Under the same set of facts as in Question 13, the company (vendor) offers, as part of the conference, a number of outings for golf, sporting events, theater performances, and sightseeing tours. May the appointed official attend the outings associated with the conference?

 
 
 
 
 

Print your Certificate of Completion, sign it, and forward it to your departmental payroll section to include in your personnel file.

 
 

 

Answer Key

 

Answer 1:
b – While it is true that an elective official cannot accept anything of value that could be expected to influence his or her actions or judgment or be construed as a reward for past or future action (M.C.G.O. §§ 9.01 and 9.05), an elective official is allowed to accept food and drink offered in connection with a conference or seminar as long as the food and drink are offered to all attendees on the same terms and conditions. 

 

Answer 2:
c – An elective official may only accept food and drink offered at events if the food and drink are offered to all attendees on the same terms and conditions.  Therefore, the official cannot go to the V.I.P. tent unless every single person at the event is given the same opportunity.  In addition, the official must consider why the lobbyist is making this offer.  If the offer could reasonably be construed as an attempt to influence the official’s actions, the official cannot accept.

 

Answer 3:
b – The official may be able to access the V.I.P. tent, but only if he pays for his own drinks, and it could not be reasonably construed that going to the tent is an attempt to influence the official’s actions.  The official must ask himself whether there is any value in accepting the invitation – even non-monetary value, such as the opportunity to mingle with local V.I.P.’s.  If there is any value associated with the invitation, the official must decline, even if he were to pay for his own drinks.

 

Answer 4:
a – The Ethics Code requires an appointed official to report all significant fiduciary relationships, organizations associated with and offices and directorships held(M.C.G.O. § 9.04(1)(a).

 

Answer 5:
a – The accounting business is still considered a significant fiduciary relationship and an organizational association, and must therefore be reported.  “Organization” means any stock or non-stock corporation, partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, incorporated or unincorporated association, trust or other legal entity other than an individual or body politic (M.C.G.O. § 9.02(13)). 

 

Answer 6:
a – In general, an appointed official cannot use his or her position for private benefit or accept anything of value that could reasonably be expected to influence the official’s actions or judgment or be construed as a reward for past action (M.C.G.O. §§ 9.01 and 9.05).  However, a county official is allowed to attend a conference at a reduced price or for no charge, and accept travel and lodging, as long as the event is primarily related to the official’s duties and the accommodations are sanctioned by the event organizer and primarily benefit the county.  Before accepting any travel or lodging from anyone other than the county, an official should seek approval from the Ethics Board.

 

Answer 7:
a – An appointed official must identify every organization with which she or her spouse is associated. “Associated” means “any organization in which an individual or a member of his/her immediate family is a director, officer, or trustee, or who has a significant fiduciary relationship or an individual who owns or controls, directly or indirection, and severally or in the aggregate, at least ten (10) percent of the outstanding equity,” (M.C.G.O. § 9.02(2)).  “Organization” means any stock or non-stock corporation, partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, incorporated or unincorporated association, trust or other legal entity other than an individual or body politic (M.C.G.O. § 9.02(13)).  The official must therefore disclose her spouse’s affiliation with the non-profit organization.

 

Answer 8:
c – A county official is prohibited from using his or her public position to obtain financial gain or anything of substantial value (M.C.G.O. § 9.05(2)(a)).  A county official is also prohibited from using county resources for personal use.  Therefore, if a county official uses county funds to attend a conference or conduct other business out of town, the official’s primary purpose for that trip must be county-related.  It would have been permissible for the official to sightsee in his down time, but the primary purpose of the trip would have had to be attending the conference.  Here, the official did not attend to any county business on the trip, and he has therefore violated the Ethics Code.

 

Answer 9:
a – The Ethics Code prohibits county officials from using their public position for private benefit. County officials are also prohibited from accepting gifts or items that could influence their official action (M.C.G.O. §§ 9.01(2)(b), 9.05(2)(a) and (b)).  It would be a violation of the Ethics Code for the appointed official to accept the tickets.

 

Answer 10:
c – The Ethics Code prohibits county officials from using their public position for private benefit (M.C.G.O. §§ 9.01(2)(b)).  County officials are also prohibited from using county resources for their own personal use. However, an appointed official may bring a guest on a trip if there is no additional cost to the county.

 

Answer 11:
c – The Ethics Code prohibits county officials from using their public position for private benefit. County officials are also prohibited from accepting gifts or items that could influence their official action (M.C.G.O. §§ 9.01(2)(b), 9.05(2)(a) and (b)).  Therefore, an appointed official may receive a gift from a lobbyist if the value of the gift is $25 or less and there is not intent to influence the official.

 

Answer 12:
c – The official’s acceptance of the invitation to attend the Bucks’ game could be construed as using a public position for private benefit, or as accepting a gift that could influence official action, which are prohibited by M.C.G.O. §§ 9.01(2)(b), 9.05(2)(a) and (b)).  Therefore, it would be an Ethics Code violation to accept the invitation. County business should be discussed in a non-entertainment venue.

 

Answer 13:
a – The appointed official has paid to attend the conference and his purpose in attending the conference relates to his official duties.  If the conference did not relate to the official’s duties, then question could be raised that the conference was a reward or benefit to the official.  The Ethics Code allows the appointed official to accept food and drink that is offered coincidentally with a conference/meeting (M.C.G.O. § 9.14(2)(a)).  The appointed official may attend the conference and all meals offered as part of the conference.

 

Answer 14:
a -– The official’s acceptance of outings from a company (vendor) doing business with the department with which the appointed official is associated, could be construed as using a public position for private benefit, or as accepting a gift that could influence official action, which are prohibited by (M.C.G.O. §§ 9.01(2)(b), 9.05(2)(a) and (b)).  Therefore, it would be an Ethics Code violation to participate in the outings.  County business should be discussed in non-entertainment venues.  If the intent of the company (vendor) is to influence official’s actions, then reporting the matter on a Statement of Economic Interest does not absolve the official of a code violation.  Reporting illegal gifts will not make them legal.

 


 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer 1:

b – While it is true that an elective official cannot accept anything of value that could be expected to influence his or her actions or judgment or be construed as a reward for past or future action (M.C.G.O. §§ 9.01 and 9.05), an elective official is allowed to accept food and drink offered in connection with a conference or seminar as long as the food and drink are offered to all attendees on the same terms and conditions.

 

Return to Quiz
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer 2:

c – An elective official may only accept food and drink offered at events if the food and drink are offered to all attendees on the same terms and conditions. Therefore, the official cannot go to the V.I.P. tent unless every single person at the event is given the same opportunity. In addition, the official must consider why the lobbyist is making this offer. If the offer could reasonably be construed as an attempt to influence the official’s actions, the official cannot accept.

 

Return to Quiz
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer 3:

b – The official may be able to access the V.I.P. tent, but only if he pays for his own drinks, and it could not be reasonably construed that going to the tent is an attempt to influence the official’s actions. The official must ask himself whether there is any value in accepting the invitation – even non-monetary value, such as the opportunity to mingle with local V.I.P.’s. If there is any value associated with the invitation, the official must decline, even if he were to pay for his own drinks.

 

Return to Quiz
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer 4:

a – The Ethics Code requires an appointed official to report all significant fiduciary relationships, organizations associated with and offices and directorships held(M.C.G.O. § 9.04(1)(a).

 

Return to Quiz
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer 5:

a – The accounting business is still considered a significant fiduciary relationship and an organizational association, and must therefore be reported.  “Organization” means any stock or non-stock corporation, partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, incorporated or unincorporated association, trust or other legal entity other than an individual or body politic (M.C.G.O. § 9.02(13)). 

  

Return to Quiz
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer 6:

a – In general, an appointed official cannot use his or her position for private benefit or accept anything of value that could reasonably be expected to influence the official’s actions or judgment or be construed as a reward for past action (M.C.G.O. §§ 9.01 and 9.05).  However, a county official is allowed to attend a conference at a reduced price or for no charge, and accept travel and lodging, as long as the event is primarily related to the official’s duties and the accommodations are sanctioned by the event organizer and primarily benefit the county.  Before accepting any travel or lodging from anyone other than the county, an official should seek approval from the Ethics Board.

 

Return to Quiz
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer 7:

a – An appointed official must identify every organization with which she or her spouse is associated. “Associated” means “any organization in which an individual or a member of his/her immediate family is a director, officer, or trustee, or who has a significant fiduciary relationship or an individual who owns or controls, directly or indirection, and severally or in the aggregate, at least ten (10) percent of the outstanding equity,” (M.C.G.O. § 9.02(2)). “Organization” means any stock or non-stock corporation, partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, incorporated or unincorporated association, trust or other legal entity other than an individual or body politic (M.C.G.O. § 9.02(13)). The official must therefore disclose her spouse’s affiliation with the non-profit organization.

 

Return to Quiz

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer 8:

c – A county official is prohibited from using his or her public position to obtain financial gain or anything of substantial value (M.C.G.O. § 9.05(2)(a)). A county official is also prohibited from using county resources for personal use. Therefore, if a county official uses county funds to attend a conference or conduct other business out of town, the official’s primary purpose for that trip must be county-related. It would have been permissible for the official to sightsee in his down time, but the primary purpose of the trip would have had to be attending the conference. Here, the official did not attend to any county business on the trip, and he has therefore violated the Ethics Code.

 

Return to Quiz 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer 9:

a – The Ethics Code prohibits county officials from using their public position for private benefit. County officials are also prohibited from accepting gifts or items that could influence their official action (M.C.G.O. §§ 9.01(2)(b), 9.05(2)(a) and (b)). It would be a violation of the Ethics Code for the appointed official to accept the tickets.

 

Return to Quiz 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer 10:

c – The Ethics Code prohibits county officials from using their public position for private benefit (M.C.G.O. §§ 9.01(2)(b)). County officials are also prohibited from using county resources for their own personal use. However, an appointed official may bring a guest on a trip if there is no additional cost to the county.

 

Return to Quiz 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer 11:

c – The Ethics Code prohibits county officials from using their public position for private benefit. County officials are also prohibited from accepting gifts or items that could influence their official action (M.C.G.O. §§ 9.01(2)(b), 9.05(2)(a) and (b)). Therefore, an appointed official may receive a gift from a lobbyist if the value of the gift is $25 or less and there is not intent to influence the official.

 

Return to Quiz 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer 12:

c – The official’s acceptance of the invitation to attend the Bucks’ game could be construed as using a public position for private benefit, or as accepting a gift that could influence official action, which are prohibited by M.C.G.O. §§ 9.01(2)(b), 9.05(2)(a) and (b)). Therefore, it would be an Ethics Code violation to accept the invitation. County business should be discussed in a non-entertainment venue.

 

Return to Quiz 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer 13:

a – The appointed official has paid to attend the conference and his purpose in attending the conference relates to his official duties. If the conference did not relate to the official’s duties, then question could be raised that the conference was a reward or benefit to the official. The Ethics Code allows the appointed official to accept food and drink that is offered coincidentally with a conference/meeting (M.C.G.O. § 9.14(2)(a)). The appointed official may attend the conference and all meals offered as part of the conference.

 

Return to Quiz 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer 14:

a – The official’s acceptance of outings from a company (vendor) doing business with the department with which the appointed official is associated, could be construed as using a public position for private benefit, or as accepting a gift that could influence official action, which are prohibited by (M.C.G.O. §§ 9.01(2)(b), 9.05(2)(a) and (b)). Therefore, it would be an Ethics Code violation to participate in the outings.
County business should be discussed in non-entertainment venues. If the intent of the company (vendor) is to influence official’s actions, then reporting the matter on a Statement of Economic Interest does not absolve the official of a code violation. Reporting illegal gifts will not make them legal.

 

Return to Quiz

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This site is powered by the Northwoods Titan Content Management System