Adopting a Conflict-of-Interest Code
Under the Political Reform Act (the "Act"), all public agencies are required to adopt a conflict-of-interest code (code). A code designates positions required to file Statements of Economic Interests (Form 700), and assigns disclosure categories specifying the types of interests to be reported. The Form 700 is a public document intended to alert public officials and members of the public to the types of financial interests that may create conflicts of interests.
Form 700 Disclosure - Consultants & New Positions
In September 2011, the FPPC adopted two forms for agencies to use to document filing requirements for individuals serving as consultants or in newly created positions. Form 804 for newly created positions and Form 805 for consultants provide a user-friendly format for agencies to assign disclosure requirements. Disclosure obligations should be tailored to the duties of the position or contract and apply to those individuals that make or participate in governmental decisions.
Each code must contain the following:
1. Terms of the code
The terms of the code comprise the main body of a code and include such provisions as the manner to report financial interests, the disqualification procedures, etc. The FPPC recommends that agencies incorporate FPPC Regulation 18730 by reference because the type of information required to be in the main body of the code is quite complex and Regulation 18730 contains all of these provisions. The FPPC will amend the regulation to include legislative and regulatory changes that affect the main body of the code; therefore, this component of an agency's code is automatically in compliance with the Act. To view FPPC Regulation 18730, click here.
2. Designated positions
The code must specifically list positions that make or participate in making decisions. Typically, positions that involve voting on matters, negotiating contracts, or making recommendations on purchases without substantive review must be included in codes. Positions listed in Government Code Section 87200 (i.e. City Councilmembers, Planning Commissioners, Members of the Board of Supervisors, etc.) are not required to be included, because these positions automatically file Form 700.
An agency may review duty statements or enlist the assistance of department or division managers to determine which positions should be included.
3. Disclosure Categories
A primary purpose of the code is to require disclosure of those types of investments, interests in real property, sources of income and business positions that designated positions may affect in their decision-making. For example, the manager of an agency should be assigned full disclosure (all investments, interests in real property, sources of income and business positions) because the manager makes decisions that affect a wide range of interests. Alternatively, a purchasing agent whose decision-making is limited to the purchase of office supplies should only be assigned disclosure of investments, sources of income and business positions in entities that provide office supplies, equipment or merchandise of the type used by the agency.
The FPPC has developed model disclosure categories to assist state agencies in drafting or amending their conflict-of-interest codes. To view model categories, click here.
Codes are not effective until they have been approved by an agency's code reviewing body (section 87303). The code reviewing body for city agencies is the city council. The code reviewing body for an agency wholly within a county is the county board of supervisors. The code reviewing body for multi-county and state agencies is the FPPC. Contact the specific code reviewing body or the FPPC for further guidance regarding code adoption procedures.