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May Human Resources Advisor Volume 2, Issue 5

Ethics Memorandum for all new employees, DODDS

February 6, 1998

SUBJECT: Immediate Action Required -- Standards of Conduct for Executive Branch Employees

Welcome to DoDDS! I hope you find your work with us to be satisfying. As an employee of one of the nation’s largest school systems, your work affects the lives of thousands of children, and many other employees. Your success depends, in part, upon your compliance with specific requirements set forth in DoD 5500.7-R, "Joint Ethics Regulation (JER)."

You are required to receive an ethics orientation. Additional responsibilities are described below if you have been designated as a "covered employee."

ALL NEW EMPLOYEES MUST RECEIVE AN INITIAL ETHICS ORIENTATION

Within 90 days of assuming duties with the Department of Defense Dependents Schools, you must become familiar with the myriad ethical rules and responsibilities set forth in the JER. Your familiarization with these rules is called initial ethics orientation. The attached document "Employees’ Guide to the Standards of Conduct," dated December 1997, is designed to orient you to the principal rules of the JER. You are required to review this document within 90 days of joining DoDDS. Your supervisor will provide you with a minimum of 1 hour of official time to conduct this review and to satisfy your initial ethics orientation.

COVERED EMPLOYEES: FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE AND ANNUAL ETHICS TRAINING

A "covered employee" is identified by annotations on the position description or by the supervisor. Generally the information you obtain from the personnel office along with this packet will inform you whether you are a covered employee. Covered employees have the following responsibilities:

  • Within 30 days of assuming duties in a covered position, file a financial disclosure report (personnel in the GS/GM-15 pay grade and below file the "confidential" OGE Form 450 and SES level personnel file the "public" SF-278) with your supervisor.
  • Annually, file with your supervisor the appropriate financial disclosure form (by October 30 for a confidential filer, and between January and April 30 for a public filer);
  • By December 31 of each year, obtain annual ethics training and file a certificate of completion, through your supervisor, with this office.

Your supervisor will review the financial disclosure report for completeness and possible conflicts of interest, and forward it to this office for review and safekeeping. You may obtain copies of the appropriate form, if not available with this information packet, from your personnel office, from the DoDDS General Counsel Bulletin Board entitled "Legal Notes," and from the Office of Government Ethics Web Page at www.usoge.gov/usoge006.html#ogeforms. Copies of forms may also be available from the installation Office of the Staff Judge Advocate.

You may obtain annual ethics training in a variety of ways. This office provides annual ethics training periodically in the DoDDS Headquarters and at some larger gatherings of DoDDS managers. The installation Staff Judge Advocate offers periodic classes on the installation and may accept invitations to conduct training at DoDDS sites if sufficient people are interested. This office is expanding access to ethics training opportunities and materials by employing telecommunications equipment. However, if it is impractical to obtain ethics training from one of these sources, this office may issue written authorization for you to review certain written materials in order to satisfy the annual ethics requirement. Covered employees fulfill their annual ethics training requirement by certifying completion to this office by December 31, annually.

Failure to obtain and certify timely ethics training or to timely file the financial disclosure report may result in disciplinary action.

Additional guidance on ethics training and financial disclosure reporting is issued periodically by this office. If you have any questions about your ethics responsibilities, you are authorized a reasonable amount of office time and the use of your duty telephone to contact me or the other attorneys on my staff: Mr. Joseph M. Davis, Ms. Kemble Garrett, at (703) 696-4387, or Mr. Ronald Schmidt at 011-49-6134-604-775.

I wish you a successful and rewarding career with the Department of Defense Dependents Schools.

original signed
Robert P. Terzian
Deputy Designated Agency Ethics Official
General Counsel DoDDS