Conflicts of Interests/Standards of Conduct Fact Sheet for Prospective Employees

This fact sheet is intended to assist individuals who are considering accepting positions with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. It is important that you understand the ethics statutes and regulations governing the activities of Federal employees. If you agree to accept a job with CDC, you will be subject to the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, and conflict of interest statutes. The purpose of the Standards of Conduct is to provide guidelines for maintaining public trust and proper stewardship of public resources. The Standards and statutes encompass several topics, the most important of which are outlined below.

Conflict of Interest is identified as any action or decision in which an employee is substantially involved that will have a direct and predictable effect on a financial interest of the employee, spouse, minor child, or organization in which the employee serves as an officer, trustee, partner or employee. For example, if your job will give you authority to award grant or contact funds to an organization in which you have a current financial interest, your official actions could provide a financial benefit to you and, therefore, a conflict of interest would exist. Any possibleconflict should be resolved in advance of your appointment so that you can carry out your responsibilities.

Activities with outside organizations. During your appointment, CDC will be considered your primary employer. However, you may be authorized to engage in employment with other organizations or provide volunteer services. CDC regards participation of its employees in paid or unpaid outside activities with non-Federal organizations as vital to maintaining an intellectually stimulating and productive workplace. While CDC encourages participation in outside organizations, such participation can raise ethical concerns. Employees engaging in activities with outside organizations are responsible for avoiding conflicts of interest and refraining from participation in any activities that even appear to conflict with the policies, programs or operations of the CDC, DHHS, or the Executive Branch. In addition employees are expected to seek prior review and approval of certain outside employment activities to ensure that there is no conflict with official responsibilities. Such activities will be conducted outside normal working hours and without using government resources to complete the activity. Examples include consulting with industry, maintaining a private professional practice, and writing or editing on topics based on your general scientific/professional knowledge.

Sometimes there are activities with outside organizations that are more appropriately performed as part of your official responsibilities. These official duty activities are extensions of regularly assigned duties, are performed during regular working hours, and also require advance review and approval. Examples include serving as a Federal liaison to a professional organization, assisting other Federal agencies, or serving as an officer of a professional society. Financial Disclosure Reporting: To ensure that there are no conflicts, certain employees are required to file a financial disclosure report within the first 30 days of their entrance into a position at the CDC, and annually thereafter. You must report all your financial investments, the holdings of your spouse and minor children, and activities with outside organizations. You will be provided with the appropriate form and instructions when you enter on duty.

If you are selected for a position, your selecting official may contact an agency ethics official to discuss your financial holdings and outside activities before you make a final decision to accept the offer of employment. This will be used to identify any possible conflicts so they can be resolved in a satisfactory manner, if at all possible. Resolution of conflicts may involve disqualification from certain official actions, divestiture of holdings, or discontinuation of conflicting outside activities. All these issues should be discussed in depth prior to your decision to accept employment at the CDC.

Note: All references to CDC include ATSDR

March 2001