COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Wednesday enacted one of the most restrictive conflict-of-interest rules in Texas higher education, extending state law to hundreds of senior administrators and their close family members.
“The Texas A&M System now goes far beyond what the law requires to be sure we provide transparency and a level playing field for anyone doing business with the System,” said Chancellor John Sharp.
In 2015, the Texas Legislature prohibited state agencies including the System and its members from contracting for goods and services from vendors if the following employees or their close family members have a financial interest in the vendor: chancellors, presidents, CEOs, general counsels, chief procurement officers and procurement directors they .
The Board’s unanimous action extends the contracting prohibition to chief financial officers, vice chancellors, chief auditors, chief compliance officers, provosts, vice presidents, deans, deputy or associate agency directors, and other employees with equivalent job duties.
The financial interest standard is if employees or close family members own or control, directly or indirectly, an ownership interest of at least 1 percent in the private vendor, or could reasonably foresee that a contract with a private vender could result in a financial benefit to the employee.
Employees covered by the conflict-of-interest rules are required to file a financial disclosure with the System’s Office of General Counsel by the end of January each year.
The rule covers the employee’s spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent and grandchild, plus a spouse’s child, parent, sibling, grandparent, and grandchild; a child’s spouse; a parent’s spouse; a grandparent’s spouse; and a grandchild’s spouse.
The Board also requires a Regent with a “substantial interest” in a contract pending before the Board to announce the conflict and refrain from voting on the contract. Substantial interest is defined with a 1 percent standard that is very similar to the standard for employees. This Regent conflicts provision incorporates recent legislative changes to state ethics laws.
About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $4.2 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities and seven state agencies, the Texas A&M System educates more than 148,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $972 million in FY 2016 and helped drive the state’s economy.
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