Newsletter Q&A Review

Volume 10, Issue 1 Summer 2016

The Scenario:
My department has a standing meeting with a city vendor and the vendor usually comes to our office...

Q1: Can we accept the vendor's offer to provide sandwiches to our team during a working lunch?

Answer: No, your team cannot accept the vendor's offer because the vendor is prohibited source and acceptance of he lunch would be a violation of the ban on gratuities. Further, no exception applies here which would allow your team to accept the lunch. This is not a public event which is open to other persons besides your team members.  The lunch is specifically for your team.

Q2: Can I accept an invitation from the vendor to attend a breakfast briefing during a conference I'm attending?

Answer: Yes, you may accept the invitation as long as other attendees at the conference are attending the breakfast as well. Officials and employees may accept reasonable meals and refreshments furnished in connection with their appearance in an official capacity at a conference under the public event exception. To qualify as a public event, at least 20 persons must attend and the gathering must include persons other than city officials, employees, and the hosts.

Q3: Can my team and I attend a free screening of a new movie offered by the vendor after the vendor completes a technical demonstration to our team?

Answer: No, you may not attend the free screening and to do so would violated the ban on gratuities. The vendor is offering the free screening to a small group of employees, specifically, your team. The free screening does not qualify for any exception unless it was offered to the entire department as a Gift to the City.

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