STATE ETHICS ACT*
OF CONDUCT FOR PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES
196 of 1973
AN ACT to prescribe
standards of conduct for public officers and employees; to create a
state board of ethics and prescribe its powers and duties; and to prescribe
remedies and penalties.
of the State of Michigan enact:
Sec. 1. As used
in this act:
means the board of ethics.
means an employee, classified or unclassified, of the executive branch
of this state. For the purpose of section 2b, employee shall include
an employee of this state or a political subdivision of this state.
Officer" means a person appointed by the governor or another
executive department official. For the purpose of section 2b, public
officer shall include an elected or appointed official of this state
or a political subdivision of this state.
conduct" means a violation of the standards in section 2.
officer or employee; prohibited conduct. [M.S.A. 4.1700(72)]
Sec. 2. (1) A public
officer or employee shall not divulge to an unauthorized person, confidential
information acquired in the course of employment in advance of the time
prescribed for its authorized release to the public.
(2) A public officer
or employee shall not represent his or her personal opinion as that
of an agency.
(3) A public officer
or employee shall use personnel resources, property, and funds under
the officer or employee's official care and control judiciously and
solely in accordance with prescribed constitutional, statutory, and
regulatory procedures and not for personal gain or benefit.
(4) A public officer
or employee shall not solicit or accept a gift or loan of money, goods,
services, or other thing of value for the benefit of a person or organization,
other than the state, which tends to influence the manner in which
the public officer or employee or another public officer or employee
performs official duties.
(5) A public officer
or employee shall not engage in a business transaction in which the
public officer or employee may profit from his or her official position
or authority or benefit financially from confidential information
which the public officer or employee has obtained or may obtain by
reason of that position or authority. Instruction which is not done
during regularly scheduled working hours except for annual leave or
vacation time shall not be considered a business transaction pursuant
to this subsection if the instructor does not have any direct dealing
with or influence on the employing or contracting facility associated
with his or her course of employment with this state.
(6) Except as
provided in section 2a, a public officer or employee shall not engage
in or accept employment or render services for a private or public
interest when that employment or service is incompatible or in conflict
with the discharge of the officer or employee's official duties or
when that employment may tend to impair his or her independence of
judgment or action in the performance of official duties.
(7) Except as
provided in section 2a, a public officer or employee shall not participate
in the negotiation or execution of contracts, making of loans, granting
of subsidies, fixing of rates, issuance of permits or certificates,
or other regulation or supervision relating to a business entity in
which the public officer or employee has a financial or personal interest.
15.301 to 15.310 and §§ 15.321 to 15.330 not amended or modified;
purpose of act; validity of contract in violation of act; voting on,
making, or participating in governmental decisions; "governmental
decision" defined. [M.S.A. 4.1700(72a)]
Sec. 2a. (1) This
act shall not in any manner amend or modify the terms of Act No. 317
of the Public Acts of 1968, being sections 15.321 to 15.330 of the Michigan
Compiled Laws and Act No. 318 of the Public Acts of 1968, being sections
15.301 to 15.310 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.
(2) This act is
intended as a code of ethics for public officers and employees and
not as a rule of law for public contracts. A contract in respect to
which a public officer or employee acts in violation of this act,
shall not be considered to be void or voidable unless the contract
is a violation of another statute which specifically provides for
(3) Subject to
subsection (4), section 2(6) and (7) shall not apply and a public
officer shall be permitted to vote on, make, or participate in making
a governmental decision if all of the following occur:
(a) The requisite
quorum necessary for official action on the governmental decision
by the public entity to which the public officer has been elected
or appointed is not available because the participation of the public
officer in the official action would otherwise violate section 2(6)
(b) The public
officer is not paid for working more than 25 hours per week for
this state or a political subdivision of this state.
(c) The public
officer promptly discloses any personal, contractual, financial,
business, or employment interest he or she may have in the governmental
decision and the disclosure is made part of the public record of
the official action on the governmental decision.
(4) If a governmental
decision involves the awarding of a contract, section 2(6) and (7)
shall not apply and a public officer shall be permitted to vote on,
make, or participate in making the governmental decision if all of
the following occur:
(a) All of the
conditions of subsection (3) are fulfilled.
(b) The public
officer will directly benefit from the contract in an amount less
than $250.00 or less than 5% of the public cost of the contract,
whichever is less.
(c) The public
officer files a sworn affidavit containing the information described
in subdivision (b) with the legislative or governing body making
the governmental decision.
(d) The affidavit
required by subdivision (c) is made a part of the public record
of the official action on the governmental decision.
(5) As used in
this section, "governmental decision" means a determination,
action, vote, or disposition upon a motion, proposal, recommendation,
resolution, ordinance, or measure on which a vote by the members of
a legislative or governing body of a public entity is required and
by which a public entity formulates or effectuates public policy.
of violation; applicability of sanctions; civil fine. [M.S.A. 4.1700(72b)]
Sec. 2b. (1) A public
officer or employee who has knowledge that another public officer or
employee has violated section 2 may report the existence of the violation
to a supervisor, person, agency, or organization. A public officer or
employee who reports or is about to report a violation of section 2
shall not be subject to any of the following sanctions because they
reported or were about to report a violation of section 2.
from employment or office.
of salary increases that are ordinarily forthcoming to the employee.
of promotions that are ordinarily forthcoming to the employee.
(d) Demotion in
(e) Transfer of
(2) Whenever a
public officer or employee who has reported or who intends to report
a violation of section 2 may be subject to any of the sanctions under
this section for reasons other than the public officer's or employee's
actions in reporting or intending to report a violation of section
2, the appointing or supervisory authority before the imposition of
a sanction shall establish by a preponderance of evidence that the
sanction to be imposed is not imposed because the public officer or
employee reported or intended to report a violation of section 2.
(3) A person who
violates this section is liable for a civil fine of not more than
(4) A civil fine
recovered under this section shall be submitted to the state treasurer
for deposit in the general fund of this state.
action, commencement of action; "damages" defined. [M.S.A.
Sec. 2c. (1) A person
who alleges a violation of section 2b may bring a civil action for appropriate
injunctive relief, or actual damages, or both within 90 days after the
occurrence of the alleged violation of this act.
(2) An action
commenced pursuant to subsection (1) may be brought in the circuit
court for the county where the alleged violation occurred, or the
county where the complainant resides, or the county where the person
against whom the civil complaint is filed resides.
(3) As used in
subsection (1), "damages" means damages for injury or loss
caused by each violation of section 2b, including reasonable attorney
order; costs. [M.S.A. 4.1700(72d)]
Sec. 2d. A court,
in rendering a judgment in an action brought pursuant to section 2b,
shall order, as the court considers appropriate, reinstatement of the
employee, the payment of back wages, full reinstatement of fringe benefits
and seniority rights, actual damages, or any combination of these remedies.
A court may also award the complainant all or a portion of the costs
of litigation, including reasonable attorney fees and witness fees,
if the court determines that the award is appropriate.
notices of protections and obligations. [M.S.A. 4.1700(72e)]
Sec. 2e. An employer
shall post notices and use other appropriate means to keep his or her
employees informed of their protections and obligations under this act.
of ethics; creation; function.
Sec. 3. (1) There
is hereby created within the executive office of the governor a board
(2) The function
of the board shall be advisory and investigatory and the board is
not empowered to take direct action against any person or agency.
of ethics; apointment, qualifications, and terms of members; vacancies;
ex officio members; quorum; action by board; compensation; executive
secretary; clerical or administrative assistance. [M.S.A. 4.1700(74)]
Sec. 4. (1) The
board of ethics shall consist of 7 members appointed by the governor,
with the advice and consent of the senate, 1 of whom shall be designated
as chairman and all of whom shall be residents of the state and not
associated with public employment. Not more than 4 members of the board
shall be members of the same political party. Initial appointments shall
be made for terms commencing 30 days after the effective date of this
act. Of those first appointed 2 shall serve for 1 year, 2 shall serve
for 2 years, and 3 shall serve for 3 years. For the 1 year, 2 year and
3 year terms, at least 1 member for each such term shall be of the same
political party. In the event of a vacancy, the governor shall fill
the vacancy for the remainder of the term. Subsequent to the initial
appointments, members shall be appointed for terms of 4 years.
(2) The attorney
general and the state personnel director shall serve ex officio without
the right to vote.
(3) Four members
of the board shall constitute a quorum and the affirmative vote of
4 members shall be necessary for any action. Members of the board
shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for their
actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their
duties. With the consent of the civil service commission, the state
personnel director shall designate an employee of the department of
civil service, acceptable to the board, to act as executive secretary
of the board and shall provide clerical or administrative assistance
from the department of civil service as the board may, from time to
of ethics; powers and duties. [M.S.A. 4.1700(75)]
Sec. 5. (1) The
complaints concerning alleged unethical conduct by a public officer
or employee from any person or entity, inquire into the circumstances
surrounding the alleged unethical conduct, and make recommendations
concerning individual cases to the appointing authority with supervisory
responsibility for the person whose activities have been investigated.
All departments of state government shall cooperate with the board
of ethics in the conduct of its investigations.
investigations of practices that could affect ethical conduct of
a public officer or employee.
(c) Hold public
oaths and receive sworn testimony.
(e) Issue and
publish advisory opinions upon request from a public officer or
employee or their appointing or supervisory authority relating to
matters affecting ethical conduct of a public officer or employee.
(2) In the issuance
of investigative reports and recommendations and advisory opinions,
the board shall be advised as to legal matters by the attorney general.
(3) When a recommendation to an appointing authority is made by the
board which affects a classified employee, the appointing authority
shall initiate appropriate proceedings in accordance with such recommendation
and pursuant to the rules of the civil service commission.
(4) When a recommendation to an appointing authority is made by the
board concerning an unclassified employee or appointee, the appointing
authority shall take appropriate disciplinary action which may include
Sec. 6. The board
may promulgate rules governing its own procedures pursuant to Act No.
306 of the Public Acts of 1969, as amended, being sections 24.201 to
24.315 of the Michigan Compiled Laws. For a period of 1 year following
the effective date of this act the board shall have full authority to
exercise all of its functions in accordance with temporary rules of
procedure promulgated by the board. Both the temporary and permanent
rules of the board shall provide that:
(a) The board
may request the attendance of any witness whose testimony, in the
judgment of the board, will aid in the conduct of its investigations.
(b) A person appearing
before the board shall submit either sworn or unsworn testimony as
the board may decide and may at all times be represented and accompanied
(c) A record of
testimony taken before the board or a hearing officer designated by
it shall be made in the manner prescribed by the board.
(d) The board
may, when it appears necessary for the protection of individual rights,
hold its meetings and hearings in private. All other meetings and
hearings shall be open to the public.
Sec. 7. There is
appropriated from the general fund of the state an amount necessary
to implement this act but not to exceed $10,000.00 for the fiscal year
ending June 30, 1974.
acts not superseded; interpretation and administration of act. [M.S.A.
Sec. 8 The provisions
of this act shall not supersede the provisions of any other acts heretofore
or hereinafter enacted and shall be interpreted and administered to
the extent not inconsistent with other acts.
History: 1973, Act
196, Imd. Eff. Jan. 8, 1974; -AM. 1978, Act 352 Imd. Eff. July 12, 1978,
-Am. 1984, Act 53, Imd. Eff. Apr. 12, 1984.