Approximately every two years the Northwestern Water & Sewer District Board and staff receives training from the Ohio Ethics Board. This training is on ethics and the Ohio Ethics Law for governmental employees.
The District has never had an issue related to ethics but we feel it is very important to reinforce the importance of ethics law. It also reassures our auditors each year that we are following good practice and educating our Board and staff on the current issues related to the ethics law.
The training covers such topics as:
- Conflict of Interest
- Public Contracts
- Misuse of Authority
- Supplemental Compensation
The presenter from the Ohio Ethics Commission, Susan Willeke, does an excellent job of keeping the staff engaged and she has great examples of situations that could potentially cause issues for a governmental agency.
The District’s entire staff and a majority of the board was present for this presentation in its entirety. It was great for them to hear firsthand the state’s interpretation of the law and also an explanation of normal workplace events that could be misinterpreted. For example, holiday cookies brought in for the entire staff are acceptable but specific gifts of value (gift cards for example) are not.
The session gave me a few minutes to remind the staff of our high expectations and morals that we try to live and reflect.