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2005 Wis Eth Bd 05 - IMPROPER USE OF OFFICE

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The Ethics Board advises that a board member of an institution of higher education
whose spouse is employed as a teacher by the institution:

  (1) not participate in negotiations, discussions, or votes on the teachers’ contract;
 
  (2) may vote on the institution’s budget if the board has already entered into a
        contract that establishes teachers’ salaries and benefits for the period covered
        by the budget but may not vote on the budget if the budget will
        substantially affect teacher salaries or benefits;
 
  (3) not participate in negotiations, discussions, or votes on the terms of another
        union’s contract if it will affect the terms of the teachers’ contract in other
        than an inconsequential manner;

  (4) may participate in a disciplinary or similar matter affecting another teacher if
        the action does not result in a board member’s spouse obtaining a
        substantial benefit or anything of substantial value from such decision;

  (5) may participate in decisions affecting teaching load, teaching hours, and
        other general policy decisions if the effect on the board member’s spouse
        does not differ materially from the effect on other teachers; and

(6) if the board member is covered by the institution’s health benefits plan, not
        participate in consideration of the terms of that plan or the award of the
        institution’s health benefits contract.

The Ethics Board further advises that abstention does not avoid a conflict, it simply
mitigates it. If the above restrictions materially impede the board member’s ability
to fulfill his or her responsibilities as a public official, or conflicts are frequent and
continuing, the member should consider withdrawing from the position so that
another appointee may participate fully in the activities of the board.