ARTICLE IV:  SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS –

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

 

Table of Contents

 

 

1-4.1          School Board Members Conflict of Interest

1-4.2       School Visitations


 

POLICY 1-4.1   SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS CONFLICT OF INTEREST

 

            Purpose

 

            The Hanover County School Board seeks, through the adoption of this Policy, to assure that the judgment of its members, officers and employees will be guided by a policy that defines and prohibits inappropriate conflicts and requires disclosure of economic interests, as defined by the Virginia General Assembly in the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act.

 

            Areas of Regulation

 

            The State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act establishes five principal areas of regulation applicable to School Board members, officers, and employees of the Hanover County Public Schools.

 

            1.   Special anti-nepotism rules relating to school board members or superintendents of schools.

            2.   General rules governing public conduct by school board members regarding acceptance of gifts and favors.

            3.   Prohibited conduct regarding contracts.

            4.   Required conduct regarding transactions.

            5.   Disclosure required from certain school board members.

 

            Definitions

 

            The State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act defines the following terms as:

 

“Advisory agency” means any board, commission, committee or post which does not exercise any sovereign power or duty, but is appointed by a governmental agency or officer or is created by law for the purpose of making studies or recommendations, or advising or consulting with a governmental agency.

 

            “Affiliated business entity relationship” means a relationship, other than a parent-subsidiary relationship, that exists when

 

(i)         one business entity has a controlling ownership interest in the other business entity,

(ii)        a controlling owner in one entity is also a controlling owner in the other entity, or

(iii)       there is shared management or control between the business entities. 

 

Factors that may be considered in determining the existence of an affiliated business entity relationship include that the same person or substantially the same person owns or manages the two entities, there are common or commingled funds or assets, the business entities share the use of the same offices or employees, or otherwise share activities, resources or personnel on a regular basis, or there is otherwise a close working relationship between the entities.

 

            “Business” means a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, trust or foundation, or any other individual or entity carrying on a business or profession, whether or not for profit.

 

            “Contract” means any agreement to which a governmental agency is a party, or any agreement on behalf of a governmental agency which involves the payment of money appropriated by the General Assembly or political subdivision, whether or not such agreement is executed in the name of the Commonwealth, or some political subdivision of thereof.  “Contract” includes a subcontract only when the contract of which it is a part is with the officer’s or employee’s own governmental agency.

 

            “Dependent” means a son, daughter, father, mother, brother, sister or other person, whether or not related by blood or marriage, if such person receives from the officer or employee, or provides to the officer or employee, more than one-half of his financial support.

 

            “Employee” means all persons employed by a governmental or advisory agency.

 

            “Financial institution” means any bank, trust company, savings institution, industrial loan association, consumer finance company, credit union, broker-dealer as defined in Va. Code § 13.1-501, or investment company or advisor registered under the federal Investment Advisors Act or Investment Company Act of 1940.

 

             “Gift” means any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan forbearance, or other item having monetary value.  It includes services as well as gifts of transportation, local travel, lodgings, and meals, whether provided in-kind, by purchase of a ticket, payment in advance or reimbursement after the expense has been incurred.  “Gift” does not include any offer of a ticket or other admission or pass unless the ticket, admission, or pass is used.  “Gift” does not include honorary degrees and presents from relatives.  For the purposes of this definition, “relative” means the donee’s spouse, child, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew; a person to whom the donee is engaged to be married; the donee’s or his spouse’s parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother or sister; or the donee’s brother’s or sister’s spouse.

 

            “Governmental agency” means each component part of the legislative, executive or judicial branches of state and local government, including each office, department, authority, post, commission, committee, and each institution or board created by law to exercise some regulatory or sovereign power or duty as distinguished from purely advisory powers or duties.  Corporations organized or controlled by the Virginia Retirement System are “governmental agencies” for purposes of this policy.

 

“Immediate family” means (i) a spouse and (ii) any other person residing in the same household as the officer or employee, who is a dependent of the officer or employee or of whom the officer or employee is a dependent.

 

            “Officer” means any person appointed or elected to any governmental or advisory agency including local school boards, whether or not he receives compensation or other emolument of office.

 

            “Parent-subsidiary relationship” means a relationship that exists when one corporation directly or indirectly owns shares possessing more than 50 percent of the voting power of another corporation.

 

            “Personal interest” means a financial benefit or liability accruing to an officer or employee or to a member of his immediate family.  Such interest shall exist by reason of:

 

1.       ownership in a business if the ownership interest exceeds three percent of the total equity of the business;

2.       annual income that exceeds, or may reasonably be anticipated to exceed, $10,000 from ownership in real or personal property or a business;

3.       salary, other compensation, fringe benefits, or benefits from the use of property, or any combination, paid or provided by a business or governmental agency that exceeds, or may reasonably be anticipated to exceed, $10,000 annually;

4.       ownership of real or personal property if the interest exceeds $10,000 in value and excluding ownership in a business, income or salary, other compensation, fringe benefits or benefits from the use of property;

5.       personal liability incurred or assumed on behalf of a business if the liability exceeds three percent of the asset value of the business;

6.       an option for ownership of a business or real or personal property if the ownership interest will consist of 1 or 4 above.

 

            “Personal interest in a contract” means a personal interest which an officer or employee has in a contract with a governmental agency, whether due to his being a party to the contract or due to a personal interest in a business that is a party to the contract.

 

            “Personal interest in a transaction” means a personal interest of an officer or employee in any matter considered by his agency.  Such personal interest exists when an officer or employee or a member of his immediate family has a personal interest in property or a business or governmental agency, or represents or provides services to any individual or business and such property, business, or represented or served individual or business is the subject of the transaction or may realize a reasonably foreseeable direct or indirect benefit or detriment as a result of the action of the agency considering the transaction.  Such “personal interest in a transaction” shall not be deemed to exist where an elected member of a local governing body serves without remuneration as a member of the board of trustees of a not-for-profit entity and such elected member or member of his immediate family has not personal interest related to the not-for-profit entity.

 

            “Transaction” means any matter considered by any governmental or advisory agency, whether in a committee, subcommittee, or other entity of that agency or before the agency itself, on which official action is taken or contemplated.

 

            Special Anti-Nepotism Rules Relating to School Board Members and Superintendents

 

            The School Board may not employ, and the division superintendent may not recommend for employment, the father, mother, brother, sister, spouse, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, or brother-in-law, of the division superintendent or of a School Board member.  This provision shall not be construed to prohibit the employment, promotion, or transfer within the school division, of any person within a relationship described above when such person:

 

1.       has been employed pursuant to a written contract with the School Board or employed as a substitute teacher or teacher’s aide by the School Board prior to the taking of office of any member of the School Board or the division superintendent; or

2.       has been employed pursuant to a written contract with the School Board or employed as a substitute teacher or teacher’s aide by the School Board prior to the inception of such relationship; or

3.       was employed by the School Board at any time prior to June 10, 1994, and had been employed at any time as a teacher or other employee of any Virginia school board prior to the taking of office of any member of the School Board or division superintendent.

 

            A person employed as a substitute teacher may not be given any greater employment than that obtained in the last full school year prior to the taking of office of the division superintendent or any School Board member.

 

            No family member (as listed, above) of any employee may be employed by the School Board if the family member is to be employed in a direct supervisory and/or administrative relationship either supervisory or subordinate to the employee.  The employment and assignment of family members in the same organizational unit shall be discouraged.

 

            General Rules Governing Public Conduct by School Board Members Regarding Gifts and Favors

 

            Prohibited Conduct

 

            Neither the School Board collectively, nor any member of the School Board, shall:

 

1.       solicit or accept money, or anything else of value, for services performed within the scope of his official duties other than his regular compensation, expenses or other remuneration;

2.       offer or accept money, or anything else of value, for or in consideration of obtaining employment, appointment, or promotion in the school division;

3.       offer or accept any money or anything else of value for or in consideration of the use of his public position to obtain a contract for any person or business with the school division.

4.       use for his own economic benefit, or anyone else’s, confidential information gained by reason of his office, and which is not available to the public;

5.       accept any money, loan, gift, favor, service or business or professional opportunity that might reasonably tend to influence the discharge of duties;

6.       accept any business or professional opportunity when he knows that there is a reasonable likelihood that the opportunity is being offered with intent to influence his conduct in the performance of official duties;

7.       accept any honoraria for any appearance, speech or article in which the School Board member provides expertise or opinions related to the performance of his official duties.  The term “honoraria” shall not include any payment for or expenses incurred in connection with such appearance, speech or article, or in the alternative a payment of money or anything of value not in excess of the per diem deduction allowable under § 162 of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended;

8.       accept a gift from a person who has interest that may be substantially affected by the performance of the School Board member’s official duties under circumstances where the timing and nature of the gift would cause a reasonable person to question the School Board member’s partiality in the matter affecting the donor; or

9.       accept gifts from sources on a basis so frequent as to raise an appearance of the use of his public office for private gain.

 

            Prohibited Conduct Regarding Contracts

 

            No School Board member shall have a personal interest in (i) any contract with the School Board or (ii) any contract with any government agency that is subject to the ultimate control of the School Board.

 

            Exceptions

 

            The above prohibition shall not be applicable to:

 

1.       a School Board member’s personal interest in a contract of employment provided the employment first began prior to the member becoming a member of the School Board;

2.       contracts for the sale by a governmental agency of services or goods at uniform prices available to the general public;

3.       a contract awarded to a member of the School Board as a result of competitive sealed bidding where the School Board has established a need for the same or substantially similar goods through purchases prior to the election or appointment of the member to serve on the School Board.  However, the member shall have no involvement in the preparation of the specifications for such contract, and the remaining members of the School Board, by written resolution, shall state that it is in the public interest for the member to bid on such contract;

4.       the sale, lease or exchange of real property between a School Board member and the School Board, provided the School Board member does not participate in any way as a School Board member in such sale, lease or exchange, and this fact is set forth as a matter of public record by the School Board;

5.       the publication of official notices;

6.       contracts between the government or School Board of a town or city with a population of less than 10,000 and an officer or employee of that town or city government or School Board when the total of such contracts between the town or city government or School Board and the officer or employee of that town or city government or School Board or a business controlled by him does not exceed $10,000 per year or such amount exceeds $10,000 and is less than $25,000 but results from contracts arising from awards made on a sealed bid basis, and such officer or employee has made disclosure as provided for in Virginia Code §2.2-3115;

7.       an officer or employee whose sole personal interest in a contract with the governmental agency is by reason of income from the contracting firm or governmental agency in excess of $10,000 per year, provided the officer or employee or a member of his immediate family does not participate and has no authority to participate in the procurement or letting of such contract on behalf of the contracting firm and the officer or employee either does not have authority to participate in the procurement or letting of the contract on behalf of his governmental agency or he disqualifies himself as a matter of public record and does not participate on behalf of his governmental agency in negotiating the contract or in approving the contract;

8.       contracts between the school division and a public service corporation, financial institution, or company furnishing public utilities in which the School Board member has a personal interest provided the member disqualifies himself as a matter of public record and does not participate on behalf of the School Board in negotiating or approving the contract;

9.       Contracts for the purchase of goods or services when the contract does not exceed $500;

10.   grants or other payment under any program wherein uniform rates for, or the amounts paid to, all qualified applicants are established solely by the administering governmental agency;

11.   an officer or employee whose sole personal interest in a contract with the School Board is by reason of his marriage to his spouse who is employed by the School Board, if the spouse was employed by such agency for five or more years prior to marrying such officer or employee;

12.   Employment contracts or renewals thereof and other contracts entered into prior to August 1, 1987, provided such contracts were in compliance with the Virginia Conflict of Interests Act (or the Comprehensive Conflict of Interests Act) at the time of their formation and thereafter.  The employment by the School Board of an officer or employee and spouse or any other relative residing in the same household shall not be deemed to create a material financial interest except when one of the persons is employed in a direct supervisory and/or administrative position with respect to the spouse or other relative residing in his household and the annual salary of the subordinate is $35,000 or more.

 

            Prohibited Conduct Regarding Transactions

 

            Each School Board member who has a personal interest in a transaction:

 

1.       shall disqualify himself from participating in the transaction if the transaction has application solely to property or a business or governmental agency in which he has a personal interest or a business that has a parent-subsidiary or affiliated business entity relationship with the business in which he has a personal interest, or he is unable to participate pursuant to 2, 3 or 4 below.  Any disqualification because of a School Board member’s personal interest in a transaction shall be recorded in the public records of the School Board.  The School Board member shall disclose his personal interest, as required by this policy, and shall not vote or in any manner act on behalf of the School Board in the transaction.  The School Board member shall be prohibited from (a) attending any portion of a closed meeting of the School Board when the matter in which he has a personal interest is discussed and (b) discussing the matter in which he has a personal interest with other School Board members or employees at any time;

2.       may participate in the transaction if he is a member of a business, profession, occupation, or group of three or more persons, the members of which are affected by the transaction, and he complies with the disclosure provisions of this policy;

3.       may participate in the transaction when a party to the transaction is a client of his firm if he does not personally represent or provide services to such client and he complies with the disclosure requirements of this policy;

4.       may participate in the transaction if it affects the public generally, even though his personal interest, as a member of the public, may also be affected by that transaction.

 

            Disqualification under this section shall not prevent any employee having a personal interest in a transaction in which his employer is involved from representing himself or a member of his immediate family in such transaction provided he does not receive compensation for such representation and provided he complies with the disqualification and relevant disclosure requirements of this policy.

 

            If disqualification under this section leaves less than the number required by law to act, the remaining member or members of the School Board shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of business and have authority to act for the School Board by majority vote, unless a unanimous vote of all members is required by law, in which case authority to act shall require a unanimous vote of remaining members.

 

            The provisions of this Policy shall not prevent a School Board member from participating in a transaction merely because such a member is a defendant in a civil legal proceeding concerning such transaction.

 

            Disclosure Requirements for School Board Members

 

1.   School Board members in each county, city or town with populations in excess of 3,500 will file, as a condition of assuming office, with the clerk of the School Board a disclosure statement of their personal interests and other information, as is specified on the form set forth in Virginia Code § 2.2-3117, and shall thereafter file such statement annually on or before January 15.

2.   Any School Board member who is disqualified from participating in a transaction under this Policy, or otherwise elects to disqualify himself, shall forthwith make disclosure of the existence of his interest, including the full name and address of the business and the address or parcel number for the real estate if the interest involves a business or real estate, and such disclosure shall be reflected in the School Board’s public records for a period of five (5) years.

3.   Any School Board member who is required to disclose his interest under this Policy shall declare his interest by stating:

 

a         the transaction involved,

b         the nature of the School Board member’s personal interest affected by the transaction,

c         that he is a member of a business, profession, occupation, or group the members of which are affected by the transaction, and

d         that he is able to participate in the transaction fairly, objectively, and in the public interest.

 

            The School Board member shall either make his declaration orally to be recorded in written minutes of the School Board or file a signed written declaration with the clerk of the School Board who shall, in either case, retain and make available for public inspection such declaration for a period of five (5) years from the date of recording or receipt.  If reasonable time is not available to comply with this requirement prior to participation in the transaction, the School Board member shall prepare and file the required declaration by the end of the next business day.  The School Board member shall also orally disclose the existence of the interest during each meeting of the governmental or advisory agency at which the transaction is discussed and such disclosure shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

 

LEGAL REFERENCE:  Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 2.2-3102, 2.2-3103, 2.2-3104.1, 2.2-3108, 2.2-3109, 2.2-3110, 2.2-3112, 2.2-3115, 2.2-3119.

 

Recodified:  August 2000    Amended: July 16, 2003, July 10, 2007, July 13, 2010

 

 

POLICY 1-4.2   SCHOOL VISITATIONS

 

Each Hanover County School Board member will attempt to visit various schools throughout the year when invited for regular programs and special events or when the School Board member has time available or has special interest in a particular program.

 

            Each School Board member will spend at least one day per academic year in school visitation during a time period recommended by the School Board Chairman. The purpose of the visits is to obtain background information for intelligent policy making. Upon completion of the visits, School Board members will participate in a scheduled committee of the whole School Board to discuss their observations.

 

            School Board members acknowledge that they are guests in any school they visit.  They will stop first at the principal's office to advise the principal of their presence and determine if there are any special considerations that should be observed while visiting.  Principals are encouraged to have School Board members visit the total school when possible rather than attempting to present only selected programs.

 

            School Board members will contact the division superintendent if they have questions or concerns resulting from their visits.

 

LEGAL REFERENCE:  Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1-79.

 

Recodified August 2000