Ethic laws were enacted to prevent both actual and apparent conflicts of interests between official duties and private interests. The Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011 (PIRA) became effective on August 15, 2011. It established the Joint Commission of Public Ethics (JCOPE) which expanded the existing functions and jurisdiction of the former Commission on Public Integrity. The jurisdiction of JCOPE includes all SUNY employees.
Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) plays a significant role in the operation and oversight of government, promoting integrity by helping those in public service understand their ethical obligations, ensuring transparency through rigorous public reporting disclosures, and providing accountability through enforcement actions to address ethical misconduct. JCOPE provides resources for state officers and officials and the general public including information on the Commission’s activities, as well as training and guidance for those subject to its jurisdiction.
At Buffalo State College, Lydia Kawaler is the ethics officer. If you have any questions, please contact her at 878-4822. She provides guidance to employees on compliance with the ethics laws and is responsible for ensuring that both the agency and its personnel comply with the legal obligations.
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Within the University, policy makers generally are considered to be those employees at the level of Dean and above at the campuses. All policy makers are prohibited from serving as an officer of a political party or political organization or as a member of a national committee of a political party. The regulations further require that salaried policy makers obtain the prior approval of their appointing authority (campus or system administration) and the State Ethics Commission before holding other public office or engaging in other public employment for more than nominal compensation; engaging in any private employment, business or other activity (including not-for-profit) for more than the defined nominal compensation; and serving as director or officer of a for-profit corporation or institution, regardless of compensation.
Honoraria is any payment, which may take the form of a fee or any other compensation, made to a covered person in consideration for a service performed that is not part of his or her official duties. Such service includes, but is not limited to, delivering a speech, writing, or publishing an article, or participating in any public or private conference, convention, meeting, or similar event. Honorarium shall also include expenses incurred for travel, lodging, and meals related to the service performed. JCOPE provides an Honorarium Approval Request Form. Accounts Payable provides guidance on processing payment.
Honoraria Regulations (19 NYCRR Part 930) note the following exemption:
"A member of the faculty (including an adjunct member of the faculty) at the State University of New York... is exempt from section 930.4 and section 930.5, provided the service performed by such member of the faculty is within the subject matter of his or her official academic discipline." Therefore, prior approval of an honorarium request is not required by academic employees.
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