Conflict of Interest Policy
The FLCGA provides support and assistance for citizens and investigative journalists working to ensure government accountability and transparency
CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY
The Florida Center for Government Accountability
(as adopted February 22, 2021)
- Purpose: The purpose of this policy is to protect the interests of The Florida Center for Government Accountability (FLCGA). In the regular course of business, agents and employees of FLCGA may have the opportunity to advance their own personal interests with or against the interests of FLCGA. Acting in such a manner is unacceptable and any party who acts outside of FLCGA’s best interests may be subject to removal or disciplinary action. This policy is intended to supplement but not replace any applicable state and federal laws governing conflicts of interest applicable to nonprofit and charitable organizations.
- Agent: A trustee, director, contractor or other third-party that is in the position to act on behalf of FLCGA.
- Employee: Any person who is employed by FLCGA in a part- or full-time capacity and in accordance with the labor laws of Florida.
- Compensation: Includes direct and indirect renumeration as well as gifts or favors that aren’t substantial. A financial interest isn’t necessarily a conflict of interest. Under Article III, section b, a person who has a financial interest may have a conflict of interest only if the Board of Trustees decides by majority vote that a conflict of interest exists.
- Financial Interest: A person has a financial interest if the person has, directly or indirectly, through business, investment, or family:
- An ownership or investment interest in any entity with which FLCGA has a transaction or arrangement;
- A compensation arrangement with FLCGA or with any entity or individual with which FLCGA has a transaction or arrangement; or
- A potential ownership or investment interest in, or compensation arrangement with, any entity or individual with which FLCGA is negotiating a transaction or arrangement.
- Duty to Disclose: Every employee and agent of FLCGA is required to disclose any known or potential conflicts of interest as soon as they arise. Failure to do so can result in disciplinary action or removal.
- Investigating Potential Conflicts: When a possible conflict of interest arises, the board of trustees will collect all pertinent information and may question any concerned parties. If the board determines by a majority vote that a conflict exists, steps will be taken to address the conflict. If no conflict exists, the inquiry will be documented but no further action will be taken.
- Addressing Conflicts of Interest: When an actual conflict of interest is found, any transactions that may have been affected will be reviewed retroactively. Affected parties both within and outside of the business, including donors, directors, employees and contractors, will be notified. An investigation will be conducted by the board of trustees to determine the extent of the conflict and the intentions of the parties involved. If the conflict in question involves a member or members of the board of trustees, the member(s) will be excused from the deliberations.
- Violations of the Conflict of Interest Policy:
- If the board of trustees has reasonable cause to believe an employee or agent has failed to disclose actual or possible conflicts of interest, it will inform the employee or agent of the basis for such belief and provide the employee or agent to explain the alleged failure to disclose.
- If, after hearing the employee’s or agent’s response and after making further investigation if warranted, the board of trustees determines the employee or agent has failed to disclose an actual or possible conflict of interest, it shall take appropriate disciplinary and corrective action, including removal, suspension and/or termination of employment.
- Records of Proceedings: The minutes of the board of trustees must contain:
- The names of the persons who disclosed or otherwise were found to have a financial interest in connection with an actual or possible conflict of interest, the nature of the financial interest, any action taken to determine whether a conflict of interest was present, and the board of trustee’s decision as to whether a conflict of interest in fact existed; and
- The names of the persons who were present for discussions and votes relating to the transaction or arrangement, the content of the discussion, including any alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement, and a record of votes taken in connection with the proceedings.
- Compensation: A voting member of the board of trustees who receive compensation for services, whether directly or indirectly, is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that member’s compensation. Any such member may, however, provide information to the board regarding the compensation.
- Annual Statements: Each employee and agent must annually sign a statement affirming that the employee or agent:
- Received a copy of the conflict of interest policy;
- Read and understands the policy;
- Agrees to comply with the policy; and
- Understands FLCGA is a charitable organization and in order to maintain its federal tax exemption must engage primarily in activities that accomplish one or more of its tax-exempt purposes.
- Periodic Reviews: To ensure FLCGA operates in a manner consistent with its charitable purposes and doesn’t engage in activities that could jeopardize its tax-exempt status, periodic reviews shall be conducted. The periodic reviews will, at a minimum, include:
- Whether compensation arrangements and benefits are reasonable and the result of arm’s length bargaining; and
- Whether partnerships, joint ventures, and arrangements with management organizations conform to FLCGA’s written policies, are properly recorded, reflect reasonable investment or payment for goods and services, further charitable purposes and don’t result in impermissible private benefit.
- Use of Outside Experts: When conducting periodic reviews under Article VII, FLCGA may, but isn’t required, to use outside advisors. If outside advisors are used, such use does not relieve the board of trustees of its responsibility for ensuring that periodic reviews are conducted.