School Board Committee Recommends New Gifts Limits for Staff

Policy Committee Proposes $75 Limit to Full Board, Discusses Revisions to Conflict of Interest Code

By Brian Cheung

SYRACUSE (NCC News) —

Policy Committee Chair Calvin Corriders lead talks on the Code of Ethics and Conflict of Interest policiesin a meeting today. (Photo from SCSD website)

The Syracuse City School Board Policy Committee recommended a new dollar limit on gifts that staff members can receive and discussed changes to conflict of interest rules today.

All members of the Board of Education but President Richard Strong were present at the meeting, which was held at the district’s Central Offices Building.

The committee of Chair Calvin Corriders and committee members Patricia Body and Michelle Mignano approved a new restriction on gifts that staff members can receive. The committee also discussed potential changes to the conflict of interest policy, which limits the activity of teachers and administrators in matters involving relatives.

The School District Officer and Employee Code of Ethics does not allow an officer or employee to solicit or receive a single gift worth $75 or more. Under the committee’s revision, total gifts received in a fiscal year would have to be less than $75. Staff members would individually record their received gifts to adhere to the revised ethics code.

“It is a prohibition, not a guideline,” chief of staff Kim Bradley said. The committee agreed to send the revised code of ethics proposal to the Board of Education.

Commissioners later discussed potential revisions to the conflict of interest policy, which currently limits their power to vote in matters involving relatives. The committee and other commissioners questioned the clarity of the policy and how well it covers administrators, tenured teachers, and other staff members.

“I think the ‘however’ is unclear,” committee member Patricia Body said. The committee sent it back to the administration to be re-worked.

Originally reported on February 13, 2012

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