2020: Conflict of Interest

No member of the Board ("board") of Educational Service Unit 4 (the "ESU") shall be employed at the ESU. Members of the board shall not receive compensation for their services but shall be reimbursed, as provided by law, for the actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.

Any member of the board of education who meets the conditions set forth in this policy shall be deemed to have a business or financial conflict of interest.

  1. Definitions. For purposes of this policy:
    1. Business with which a board member is associated shall include the following:
      1. A business in which the board member or a member of his or her immediate family is a partner, a limited liability company, or serves as a director or an officer.
      2. A business in which the board member or a member of his or her immediate family is a stockholder in a closed corporation with stock worth one thousand dollars or more, or the board member or his or her immediate family owns more than a five percent equity interest or is a stockholder of publicly traded stock worth more than ten thousand dollars or more at fair market value, or which represents more than ten percent equity interest. This shall not apply to publicly traded stock under a trading account if the board member reports the name and address of the company and stockbroker.
    2. A business association shall be defined to include an individual as a partner, limited liability company member, director or officer, or a business in which the individual or member of the immediate family is a stockholder.
    3. Immediate family member or member of the immediate family shall mean 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.
  2. Contracts with the ESU.
    1. No board member’s immediate family shall enter into a contract valued at two thousand dollars or more, in any one year, with this ESU unless the contract is awarded through an open and public process that (1) includes prior public notice and (2) allows the public to inspect during the ESU’s regular office hours the proposals considered and the contract awarded.
    2. The existence of any conflict of interest in any contract in which the board member has an interest and in which the ESU is a party, or the failure to make public the board member's interest known, may render a contract null and void.
    3. The prohibition of a conflict of interest or requirement for the board member to make public notice shall apply when the board member, or his or her parent, spouse, or child has a business association with the business involved in the contract or will receive a payment fee or commission as a result of the contract.
    4. The prohibition in this section does not apply if the contract is an agenda item approved at a board meeting and the board member:
      1. Makes a declaration on the record to the board regarding the nature and extent of his or her interest prior to official consideration of the contract;
      2. Does not vote on the matters of granting the contract, making payments pursuant to the contract, or accepting performance of work under the contract, or similar matters relating to the contract, except that if the number of members of the school board declaring an interest in the contract would prevent the board with all members present from securing a quorum on the issue, then all members may vote on the matters; and
      3. Does not act for the board as to inspection or performance under the contract in which he or she has an interest.
  3. Contracts with Board Member’s Immediate Family.
    1. If a person in a board member's immediate family is an employee of this ESU, the board member may vote on all issues of a contract which are generally applicable to:
      1. All district employees.
      2. All employees within a specific classification but which does not single out the member of his or her immediate family.
  4. Employing Members of the Immediate Family.
    1. A board member may recommend for employment or supervise the employment of an immediate family member if:
      1. The board member does not abuse his or her position.
      2. Abuse of official position shall include, but not be limited to, employing an immediate family member:
        1. who is not qualified for and able to perform the duties of the position;
        2. for any unreasonably high salary;
        3. who is not required to perform the duties of the position.
      3. The board makes a reasonable solicitation and consideration of applications for employment.
      4. The board member makes a full disclosure on the record to the governing body of the ESU and to the secretary of the board. If the secretary of the board would be the individual filing the disclosure statement, the statement shall be filed with the president of the board of education.
      5. The board approves the employment or supervisory position.
    2. The board has not terminated the employment of another employee so as to make funds or a position available for the purpose of hiring an immediate family member.
  5. Gifts, Loans, Contributions, Rewards, or Promises of Future Employment
    1. No board member shall offer or give to the following persons anything of value, including a gift, loan, contribution, reward, or promise of future employment, based upon an agreement that a vote, official action, or judgment would be influenced thereby:
      1. a public official, public employee, or candidate.
      2. a member of the immediate family of an individual listed in Section I, C, above.
      3. a business with which an individual listed in Section I, A, Subparagraph (1) or (2) above is associated.
    2. No board member shall solicit or accept anything of value, including a gift, loan, contribution, reward, or promise of future employment based on an agreement that the vote, official action, or judgment of the board member would thereby be influenced.
    3. A board member shall not use or authorize the use of his or her public office or any confidential information received through the holding of a public office to obtain financial gain, other than compensation provided by law, for himself or herself, a member of his or her immediate family, or a business with which he or she is associated.
    4. A board member shall not use personnel, resources, property, or funds under his or her official care and control other than in accordance with prescribed constitutional, statutory, and regulatory procedures or use such items, other than compensation provided by law, for personal financial gain.
  6. Conflict of Interest Relating to Campaigning or Political Issues
    1. Except as provided below, the board shall not authorize the use of personnel, property, resources, or funds under its jurisdiction for the purpose of campaigning for or against the nomination or election of a candidate or the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question.
    2. This does not prohibit the board from making ESU facilities available to a person for campaign purposes if the identity of the candidate or the support for or opposition to the ballot question is not a factor in making the facilities available or a factor in determining the cost or conditions for use.
    3. This does not prohibit the board from discussing and voting upon a resolution supporting or opposing a ballot question.
    4. This does not prohibit the board, while legally seated as a body, from responding to specific inquiries by the press or the public as to the board's opinion regarding a ballot question or from providing information in response to a request for information.
      1. The board may designate one or more members of its body, or the ESU administrator to speak on behalf of the board on specific occasions such as public meetings or legislative hearings.
      2. Any member of the board may present his or her personal opinion regarding a ballot question or respond to a request for information related to a ballot question; but in so doing, the person should clearly state that the information being presented is his or her personal opinion and is not to be considered as the official position or opinion of the board. However, this shall not be done during a time that the individual is engaged in his or her official duties.
  7. Conflict of Interest Statement
    1. Any board member who would be required to take any action or make any decision in the discharge of his or her official duties that may cause financial benefit or detriment to him or her, a member of his or her immediate family, or a business with which he or she is associated, which is distinguishable from the effects of such action on the public generally or a broad segment of the public, shall take the following actions as soon as he or she is aware of such potential conflict or should reasonably be aware of such potential conflict, whichever is sooner:
      1. Prepare a written statement describing the matter requiring action or decision and the nature of the potential conflict;
      2. Deliver a copy of the statement to the ESU board secretary who shall enter the statement onto the ESU’s public records; and
      3. Abstain from participating or voting on the matter in which he or she has a conflict of interest.
    2. If the board member would like a formal opinion from the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission (“NADC”) as to whether there is an actual conflict of interest, he/she shall deliver a copy of the statement to the NADC.
  8. Recordkeeping
    1. The board secretary shall maintain a separate record of the following information for every contract entered into by the school board in which a board member has an interest and for which disclosure was made pursuant to Section II, D, of this policy:
      1. The names of the contracting parties.
      2. The nature of the interest of the board member in question.
      3. The date that the contract was approved.
      4. The amount of the contract.
      5. The basic terms of the contract.
    2. The information supplied relative to the contract shall be provided no later than ten (10) days after the contract has been signed by both parties. The ledger kept by the board secretary shall be available for public inspection during normal working hours of the office in which it is kept.
  9. Conflict. To the extent that there is a conflict between this policy and the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act (“Act”), the Act shall control.

Adopted on: April 14, 2008
Revised on: March 12, 2018
Reviewed on: April 11, 2011
Reviewed on: May 10, 2021
Revised on: August 9, 2021