231 – Gifts And Honoraria To District Board Members, Officials, Employees And Their Families
Except as otherwise provided in this policy, no Board member, employee or official of the District, or member of a Board member’s, employee’s or official’s immediate family (spouse or dependent children) shall solicit, accept, or receive any gift or series of gifts, nor shall any Board member, employee or official of the District accept an honorarium if the donor is or is seeking to be a party to one or any combination of sales, purchases, leases, or contracts with the District or if the donor will personally be or is the agent of a person who will be directly or substantially affected financially by the performance or nonperformance of the Board member’s, employee’s or official’s official duty in a way that is greater than the effect on the public generally.
A “gift” for purposes of this policy shall include anything of value in return for which legal consideration of equal or greater value is not given. However, the following gifts will not be prohibited:
(1) a contribution to a candidate; or
(2) informational material relevant to official functions, such as books, pamphlets, reports, documents, periodicals or other information that is recorded in a written, audio or visual format; or
(3) anything received from a person related within the fourth degree by kinship or marriage, unless the donor is acting as an agent or intermediary; or
(4) an inheritance; or
(5) anything available or distributed free of charge to the public generally; or
(6) items received from a bona fide charitable, professional, educational, or business organization to which the board member, employee or official belongs as a dues paying member, if the items are given to all members of the organization without regard to the individual member’s status or positions held outside of the organization and if the dues paid are not inconsequential when compared to the items received; or
(7) actual expenses for food, beverages, registration, travel, and lodging for a meeting which is given in return for the Board member’s, official’s or employee’s participation in a panel or speaking engagement at the meeting when the expenses relate directly to the day(s) on which the Board member, official or employee has participation or presentation responsibilities; or
(8) plaques or items of negligible resale value given as recognition for public services; or
(9) nonmonetary items with a value of $3.00 or less received from one donor during one calendar day; or
(10) items or services solicited by or given to, for purposes of a business or educational meeting, a state, national, or regional government organization in which the District is a member, or solicited by or given for purposes of a business or educational meeting, a state, national, or regional government organization whose membership and officers are primarily composed of state or local government officials or employees; or
(11) items or services received as part of a regularly scheduled event that is part of a business or educational conference, seminar, or other meeting that is sponsored and directed by any state, national, or regional organization in which the District is a member, or received at such an event by members or representatives of members of state, national, or regional government organizations whose membership and officers are primarily comprised of state or local government officials or employees; or
(12) funeral flowers or memorials to a church or nonprofit organization; or
(13) gifts for a board member’s, official’s, or employee’s wedding or 25th or 50th wedding anniversary; or
(14) payment of salary or expenses by the District for the cost of attending a meeting of a subunit of an agency when the employee whose expenses are being paid serves on a board, commission, committee, council or other subunit of the agency and the employee is not entitled to receive compensation or reimbursement of expenses from the District for attending the meeting; or
(15) gifts other than food, beverages, travel and lodging received by an employee which are received from a person who is a citizen of a country other than the United States and is given during a ceremonial presentation or as a result of a custom of the other country and is of personal value only to the recipient.
(16) actual registration costs for informational meetings or sessions which assist the Board member, official, or employee in the performance of the person’s official functions. The costs of food, drink, lodging, and travel are not “registration costs” under this paragraph. Meetings or sessions which the Board member, official, or employee attends for personal or professional licensing purposes are not “informational meetings or sessions” under this paragraph.
An “honorarium” for purposes of this policy means anything of value that is accepted by, or on behalf of, a Board member, official or employee of the District, as consideration for an appearance, speech, or article. However, the following “honoraria” may be accepted:
(1) payment of actual expenses for registration, food, beverages, travel, and lodging when the expenses relate directly to the day(s) on which the Board member, official, or employee has participation or presentation responsibilities; or
(2) a non-monetary item if the Board member, official or employee donates the item within 30 days to a public body, a bona fide educational or charitable organization, or the department of general services of the State of Iowa; or
(3) a payment made to the Board member, official, or employee for services rendered as part of the Board member’s, official’s or employee’s private business, trade or profession if the payment is commensurate with the actual services rendered and is not made because of the person’s status as a public official or public employee but, rather, because of the Board member’s, official’s or employee’s special expertise or other qualifications.
This policy shall not prohibit District employees from receiving nonmonetary gifts from or on behalf of students or groups of students for special occasions such as holidays, retirement, end of sessions, or periods of illness, provided the gift is not of excessive value and is not given to influence the employee’s judgment in professional or official matters, but rather is given as a token of appreciation. No employee shall accept a monetary gift from or on behalf of a student or group of students.
It shall be the policy of the District to encourage students and their parents to donate an item for the District or for a classroom or activity in lieu of donating gifts personally to an employee.
It is the intent of the Board that District officials and employees be extremely cautious and circumspect about accepting any gratuity, favor, or gift. The acceptance of personal benefits raises suspicions that tend to undermine public trust.
Date of Revision: October 24, 1994
Legal References: Chapter 68B, Code of Iowa
URBANDALE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS