University System of Georgia Updates Its Conflicts of Interest Policy

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University System of Georgia Updates Its Conflicts of Interest Policy

October 29, 2018
• Atlanta, GA

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Tech Tower from above

To help maintain an ethical culture and preserve the public trust, the University System of Georgia (USG) recently made several revisions to the Conflicts of Interest and Conflicts of Commitment policy to provide additional detail and guidance to all employees in the USG system.

“While Georgia Tech encourages participation in approved outside activities, they must be appropriately disclosed and managed, as necessary, by the employee,” said Aisha Oliver-Staley, interim vice president for Ethics, Compliance, and Legal Affairs. “Understandably, it can be difficult to determine whether your activity should be disclosed and approved — the appropriate action isn’t always that obvious. This is why we recommend that you always ask the question and seek guidance up front, before participating in the activity.”

Key updates include the following: 

USG employees (faculty and staff) involved in vendor selection or oversight may not be compensated or employed by such vendors.

The USG Chancellor must approve any outside activities for all 26 USG presidents and USG office employees. Each president, or appropriatedesignee, is responsible for approving outside activities for their institution’s respective employees. If these employees are direct reports of the president or have the rank of vice president or higher, the institution’s president must forward the proposed outside activity approvals to the USG for review prior to giving final approval.

USG employees who accrue annual leave, including 12-month faculty with administrative duties, must take annual leave (commonly known as vacation time) for compensated outside activities including consulting.

Oliver-Staley said there are several things to remember when engaging in outside activities.

First, there is a difference between “consulting” and “professional services.” Consulting is participating in outside activities that relate to the employee’s area of expertise or responsibility as an …

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