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Module 2: The Concessions Deal

Negotiations are proceeding over the first round of submitted bid packages for retail concessions at the new amphitheater. One of the bidders is the brother of Susan, but the team does not know this. The team is discussing the bid packages submitted.

 

Module 2: Q&A

Question 1: Should Susan be sitting on the team evaluating the concessions bids?

A. Yes, as long as she doesn’t make any decisions about the bids.
B. No, and she should leave the room.
C. No, but she can stay in the room for the discussion of the bids.

Answer: B. Susan cannot be on the evaluation team for the bids for the new retail project because this violates Section 2-820 of the Ethics Code on Incompatible Interests. It is a conflict because her brother is seeking a concessions contract. She should not be involved in any discussion or evaluation of the bids.  Susan has a personal interest in the matter because of the relationship with her brother.

 

Question 2: Can Susan give information to her brother for his bid package?

A. No, because doing so violates city policy.
B. Yes because this is public information.
C. No, because this is her brother.

Answer: A. No, Susan cannot give information to her brother to assist him with the bid package because this violates city policy.  Section 2-819 of the Code of Ethics prohibits disclosure of confidential information regarding city operations.  The bid process is public information; however, Susan is providing information to her brother that is not available to the other bidders. 

 

Question 3: If Susan isn’t involved in the bid process, can she own an interest in her brother’s company?

A. Yes, because she isn’t involved in the bid process.
B. Yes, but she has to be transferred out of the Concessions Division.
C. No, because this is a conflict of interest.

Answer: C. Susan cannot hold an ownership interest in her brother’s company even if she is removed from the bid process.  Section 2-820 prohibits city employees from holding investments that are incompatible with their city positions.  Susan works in the Concessions Division and her primary responsibilities involve evaluating and managing concessions contracts.  She must also disclose this interest to the City when she files her annual financial disclosure statement (if required).   

 

Question 4: Can Susan have lunch with her brother even if his business is actively bidding on a contract with the Concessions Division?

A. Yes, as long as they do not discuss the bidding process.

B. Yes, because her brother is an immediate family member.
C. No, because it would be a conflict of interest.

Answer: A. Susan can have lunch with her brother provided that they do not discuss any matter related to the bid package and Susan pays for her entire meal. Any discussion between Susan and her brother related to the bidding process would constitute a violation of Section 2-819 of the Code of Ethics which prohibits the disclosure of confidential information regarding city operations.  Although the bidding process is public information, given her position evaluating and managing concessions contracts, Susan would be providing information to her brother that is not available to the other bidders. 

 

 

Module 3: The Power Seller

Simon is a city employee that works with the IT department. He has access to applications and programs that most employees cannot use.  He set up a online business called “Sell-Bay” which he has been running for a few years. He has made enough money with this business that he now has his co-worker, Chris, working for him.  Simon and Chris routinely monitor the Sell-Bay website and often do so during their city work hours.  

 

Module 3: Q&A

Question 1: Should Chris be working for Simon? Could one of his other co-workers work for him?

A. Yes, as long as they work for him after hours and not on city time.
B. No because this violates city policy.
C. Yes, if they use their personal laptops during their lunch breaks..

Answer: B. This employment is not permissible under the Ethics Code and violates Section 2-820 of the Code.  The employees should not be providing services for a co-worker’s private business even if it is during their lunch hour.

 

Question 2: Some of Simon’s best customers are City of Atlanta employees and he regularly sends emails with upcoming promotions at work.  Is this permissible?

A. Yes, and he can use his city laptop, if he does so during his lunch hour.
B. Yes, as long as he uses his personal laptop at work.
C. No, because this violates city policy.

Answer C: No because this violates Section 2-811 on use of city property.  Section 2-811 prohibits city employees from using city property for their private gain.  Simon is using city laptop to send emails promoting his business; as well as misusing city time because he should be working, not sending personal emails



Question 3
:  If Simon brought his personal laptop and was using it instead of his work laptop to conduct his business, is that permissible?


A. No, because this violates city policy.
B. Yes, because he is not using his city laptop.
C. Yes, but he should only do so during his lunch hour.

Answer: A. No, Simon cannot do so because thisviolates Section 2-811 on use of city property.  It doesn’t matter that he is bringing his personal laptop to work; the problem is that he is conducting his business at work on city property and while on his city time, and this is not permissible.

 

Question 4: Should Simon disclose this income and outside employment?

A. No, because he is not making more than $10,000 a year.
B. No, because he is not a high level employee and this is not required.
C. Yes, he should disclose if he is required to file an annual disclosure statement

Answer: C. Yes, under Section 2-814 Simon must disclose his outside employment if he is required to file a disclosure statement and must also indicate that he is making more than $5000 from his outside employment. 

 

 

 

Handling Conflicts of Interest

Lesson 1: How to handle potential conflicts of interest

The City's Ethics Code covers conflict of interests involving city officials, employees, and contractors. View the short video below for tips on how to identify, disclose, and handle potential conflicts.  

 

As always, the Ethics Office is here to guide you through a potential conflict of interest. If you have a question related to a specific action or ethical dilemma, city officials, employees, vendors as well as members of the public are encouraged to contact the Ethics Office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (404) 330-6286 for further advice and guidance. 

 

Module 4: The Dinner Deal

John and Michael are sitting at a restaurant table after a long day working together on a project involving the City of Atlanta’s sewer system. They are not aware that Linda, also working on the same contract, is sitting a few tables away eavesdropping. She overheard Michael talking on the phone to John earlier that day and setting up the dinner meeting and decided to drop by secretly.  She asks a friend of hers to meet her there so that she can blend in.  

 

Module 4: Q&A

Question 1:  Is it permissible for Michael to meet John for dinner at the restaurant after work?

A. No, because they work together on a city project.
B. No, because they are meeting after work hours and not during city hours.
C. Yes, Michael may meet John for dinner at the restaurant.

Answer: C. Yes, Michael can meet John at the restaurant for dinner but he must pay for his own dinner. John should not pay for Michael’s dinner because to do so would violate Section 2-817 of the Ethics Code which governs gratuities. John is considered a prohibited source and employees are prohibited from accepting anything of value from prohibited sources; unless specific exceptions apply.    

 

Question 2: If Michael decides to accept John’s offer to work for him can he do so?

A. Yes, if he will work for John on his own personal time.
B. No, because he works closely with John on his city job.
C. No, because John has a contract with Michael’s department.

Answer: B. Michael should not accept an offer of employment from John because they currently work together closely on a city project and to do so would violate Section 2-820 on Incompatible Interests.  Michael cannot accept this private employment or provide private services for Michael because this is incompatible with his job duties. 

 

Question 3: If John asks Michael to work on an unrelated project with a private company can Michael accept?

A. Yes, he can accept the offer.  

B. No, he cannot accept the offer.
C. Yes, but he must get permission from his manager before he does so.

Answer: B. Michael should not work for John in any capacity while they are working together on the current city project.  Because he oversees and manages that project, it would be a conflict of interest for him to work for the city contractor. This employment is adverse to his official job duties and violates Section 2-820. 

 

Question 4: If Michael learns that Linda intends to report what took place during his dinner with John using the Integrity Hotline, what can Michael do to stop her?

A. Attempt to discourage Linda from reporting the violations because he is her boss.
B. Fire Linda for cause since she was spying on him.
C. Refrain from interfering because Linda is acting in good faith.

Answer: C. Under Section 2-823 of the Ethics Code, Michael cannot use or threaten to use any official authority or influence to discourage, restrain or interfere with any other person for the purpose of preventing such person from acting in good faith to report or otherwise bring to the attention of the board of ethics information relating to an ethics violation or investigation. Therefore, since Linda is acting on good faith based on her observations of Michael’s actions, Michael must refrain from interfering with her bringing the matter to the attention of the Ethics Officer.

 

 

Avoiding Bribes

Lesson 2: Avoiding Bribes and Unethical Situations

The City's Code of Ethics covers the giving, receiving, and solicitation of prohibited gratuities between city officials, employees, and contractors/vendors. View the short video below with key tips on identifying, reporting and avoiding bribes and unethical situations! 

 

As always, the Ethics Office is here to guide you through an ethical dilemma or potential conflict of interest. City officials, employees, contractors/vendors and members of the public are encouraged to contact the Ethics Office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (404) 330-6286 for specific advice and guidance. 

 

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