Frequently Asked Questions
Outside Employment and Volunteer Services
State employees often have other jobs or businesses and participate in volunteer activities. The State has no interest in these activities unless they are incompatible with or conflict with an employee's state duties. The Executive Branch Ethics Act addresses this concern.
1. Why do I have to disclose outside employment?
The Ethics Act requires you to submit an annual disclosure by July 1 and updates as changes occur. You submit your disclosure through your work supervisor to your agency's Designated Ethics Supervisor for review. In this way, we ensure that employee activities are compatible with official duties.
2. What do I have to disclose?
- Any compensated employment;
- Any compensated services benefiting a business or organization you are involved with;
- Any volunteer activity, if you receive any type of compensation, such as payment for travel or meals; and
- Any other volunteer or non-compensated work, if there is a possibility that such work conflicts with your official state duties.
3. What does "outside employment" include?
- Any employment, services, or work for which you are paid, but not your state employment.
- Examples: a job with another employer, work as an independent contractor, and work in your own business.
4. Where does the Ethics Act address volunteer activities?
The statute (AS 39.52.170(a)) restricts public employees from providing services that benefit a personal interest if those services are incompatible or in conflict with the proper performance of official duties. The companion regulation (9 AAC 52.090) clarifies that "service" includes volunteer activities.
5. Do I have to list all my volunteer activities or memberships in organizations?
No. You only need to disclose volunteer service if it is possible that your service may conflict with your official duties or you receive compensation. If your volunteer service is with an organization or for an activity that has no relationship to, or overlap with, your official duties and you receive no compensation, you do not have to disclose this volunteer service. When deciding what to report, consider the scope of your official duties and the specific volunteer activity you do. If you have a volunteer interest that is closely related to your official work duties, you should file a disclosure.
6. I volunteer my services to an organization that works on issues similar to those before my department. Do I have to discontinue my membership?
Not necessarily. The Ethics Act recognizes that public officers have outside interests. Membership in an organization with interests or issues similar to those of your department itself does not constitute a conflict. However, if you actively volunteer to work on issues for the organization related to your department's responsibilities, you must tailor your activities to ensure no conflict exists with your official duties. Otherwise your participation will likely be disapproved.
Please keep in mind that the purpose of the disclosure is to identify potential conflicts, provide you the opportunity to design your volunteer efforts to eliminate conflicts, and create a record of compliance with the Ethics Act if questions are asked or complaints brought to the Department suggesting that you have a conflict.
7. Do I need to disclose activities related to my rental property?
Possibly. You do not have to disclose rental property if someone else manages the day-to-day work of advertising the property for rent, screening perspective tenants, communicating with tenants and arranging or doing repairs. But if you provide these services instead of having someone else do them, you should submit the disclosure because you are engaging in outside services to benefit a financial interest and are compensated by the rents.
8. Do all employees have to file? Are there exceptions?
All employees who are currently involved in outside employment, services, or volunteer activities, as described above, must file a disclosure by July 1 each year. Employees with no outside employment, services, or reportable volunteer activities do not need to file a disclosure. If you later take a second job or provide paid services, you submit a disclosure at that time.
9. My outside employment or volunteer activities have not changed since I filed last June. Do I still have to file this June?
Yes, an annual disclosure is required whether or not there has been a change from the previous year's report.
10. What if my employment situation changes during the year?
If your outside employment or volunteer service changes during the course of the year, you are required to file a notice of the change in a timely manner. A good rule of thumb is to file within 30 days of any change to ensure compliance. You may also submit the disclosure in advance if you have any concern whether an outside activity will be approved.
11. How do I file?
Use the ethics disclosure form titled: Outside Employment or Service Notification. The form is available at http://www.law.state.ak.us/doclibrary/ethics.html, the Department of Law's ethics webpage, or from your Designated Ethics Supervisor. Complete the form with enough information so that the ethics supervisor will understand the kind of work or service you do, when you do it, and who employs you or to whom you provide services. Then give it to your work supervisor for review, recommendation and signature. Your work supervisor will forward it to your Department's Designated Ethics Supervisor or return it to you, so you may do so.
12. What happens to the disclosures I file?
The Designated Ethics Supervisor reviews your disclosure to make sure your outside activities are compatible with your state job. You may be contacted for more information about the nature of both your state responsibilities and your outside employment or volunteer activities. If there is no conflict with your state job, the Ethics Supervisor signs the form and returns a copy to you for your records. In some cases, you may receive a memo with specific restrictions or instructions about your outside employment or volunteer activities. In rare instances, you may be told you can't participate in the volunteer activity or outside employment if you want to keep your state position. Your original disclosure is archived in your official personnel file.
13. How is a conflict determined?
Your Designated Ethics Supervisor considers:
- Whether the activity will take time away from your official duties.
- Whether the activity inappropriately limits what you can do in your state job without triggering a conflict.
- Other circumstances suggesting an incompatibility or conflict with your job.
14. What can I do to help the annual reporting go smoothly?
You should provide enough information about your outside employment, including when you do this work, so that your ethics supervisor can evaluate whether there is a conflict with your official state duties. If you are a consultant or independent contractor, you need to attach a list of your clients.
15. Where can I get more information about the Ethics Act?
The Department of Law's website has guidance available addressing other topics with examples to explain the topics. You may also contact your department's Designated Ethics Supervisor.
WHEN IN DOUBT, DISCLOSE!