This column is a service of the Institute for Local Government
(ILG) Ethics Project, which offers resources for local officials
on public service ethics. For more information,
visit www.ca-ilg.org/trust. ILG is
grateful to the cities of Los Gatos, West Hollywood and Petaluma
for contributing materials to this column. Generous funding for
the development of this column is provided by the ICMA Retirement
Corporation (www.icmarc.org), whose mission is to build
retirement security for the public sector.
The holidays are coming up, and this year our agency wants to do
a better job of handling issue of gifts from outside sources. It
has generally had a no-gifts policy, but we haven’t actively
enforced it, and there is a kind of unwritten exception for gifts
of nominal value (for example, plates of homemade cookies from
residents or logo items from vendors). What are your thoughts,
and what do other agencies do?