Originally posted March 23, 2019
Here is an excerpt:
A large range of actions can constitute unethical behavior, from a health inspector inspecting his mom and dad’s restaurant to a public official accepting a ticket to an Ohio State Buckeyes’ game because he doesn’t consider it monetary, Willeke said. Unethical behavior doesn’t have to be as egregious as the real world example of a state employee inspecting a string of daycare centers she and her husband owned.
It’s not possible to find someone void of personal bias, Willeke said, and it is common for potential conflicts of interest to present themselves. It’s how public officials react to those biases or potential conflicts that matters most. The best thing for a public official facing a conflict to do is to walk away from the situation.
“Having a conflict of interest has never been illegal,” Willeke said. “It is when people act on those conflicts of interest that we actually see a crime under Ohio Ethics Law.”
When it comes to accepting gifts, Ohio law does not stipulate a dollar amount, only whether the gift is substantial or improper. A vendor-purchased dinner at Bob Evans might not violate the law, while dinner at a high-end restaurant complete with the best wine and most expensive menu items would.
And when it comes to unlawful interests in public contracts, a contract means any time a government entity spends money. That could mean the trustee who takes home a township backhoe on weekends to do work on the side, the library director who uses the copier to print hundreds of flyers for their business, the state employee who uses a state computer to run a real estate business or the fireman who uses a ladder truck on a home painting job.
The info is here.
Editor's note: We need more of this type of training for government officials.