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CODE OF ETHICS

I. Applicability and Definitions

A. This policy applies to members of the Board of Education, candidates to be members of the Board of Education, members of the Ethics Panel, and the following school officials or employees of the Talbot County Public Schools (TCPS): superintendent, assistant superintendent, directors, supervisors, assistant supervisors, curriculum specialists, managers, assistant managers, accountants, principals, associate principals, assistant principals, and the executive assistant to the superintendent. In addition, Section III (Conflicts of Interest) of this policy shall also apply to all TCPS employees.

B. In this policy, the following terms have the meanings indicated:

  1. “Gift”:
    1. Means the transfer of any service or thing of economic value regardless of form without adequate and lawful consideration; and
    2. Does not include a political campaign contribution regulated under Elections Article, Annotated Code Maryland.
  2. “Official” includes a member of the Board of Education, members of the Ethics Panel, and the following TCPS school officials or employees: superintendent, assistant superintendents, directors, supervisors, assistant supervisors, curriculum specialists, managers, assistant managers, accountants, principals, associate principals, assistant principals, and the executive assistant to the superintendent. In addition, Section III (Conflicts of Interest) of this policy shall also apply to all TCPS employees.
  3. “Employee” means any person working for TCPS for wages on a full or part-time, permanent or temporary basis, who is, or will be, issued an I.R.S. W2 statement of earnings form for income tax purposes at the end of the year.

II. Ethics Panel

A. There is a TCPS Ethics Panel that consists of three (3) members appointed by the Board of Education for a three (3) year term.

B. The Ethics Panel shall:

  1. Devise, receive, and maintain all forms required by this chapter;
  2. Provide advisory opinions to persons subject to this chapter regarding the applicability of these provisions to them;
  3. Process and make determinations regarding complaints alleging violations of this chapter;
  4. Refer findings regarding complaints and other enforcement matters to the Board of Education for action; and
  5. Conduct an information program regarding the purposes and application of this chapter.

III. Conflicts of Interest

A. This section (III, Conflicts of Interest) of the policy applies to all TCPS employees and officials, in addition to members of the Board of Education, members of the Ethics Panel, superintendent, assistant superintendents, directors, supervisors, curriculum specialists, managers, accountants, principals, associate principals, assistant principals, and the executive assistant to the superintendent.

B. In this section, “qualified relative” means a spouse, parent, child, or sibling.

C. Participation

  1. Except as permitted by Board of Education regulation or in the exercise of an administrative or ministerial duty that does not affect the disposition or decision in the matter, an official may not participate in:
    1. Any matter in which, to the knowledge of the official, the official or a qualified relative or the official has an interest; or
    2. Any matter in which any of the following is a party:
      1. A business entity in which the official has a direct financial interest of which the official may reasonably be expected to know;
      2. A business entity for which the official or a qualified relative of the official is an officer, director, trustee, partner, or employee;
      3. A business entity with which the official or, to the knowledge of the official, a qualified relative of the official is negotiating or has any arrangement concerning prospective employment;
      4. A business entity that is a party to an existing contract with the school official or which, to the knowledge of the official, a qualified relative of the official, if the contract reasonably could be expected to result in a conflict between the private interests of the official and the school system or Board

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