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Chapter 2 Section 5 Ethical Conduct/Conflict of Interest

Year Adopted: 1997
Revised: 2016, 2019


To give the highest public service to Washington's citizens, college employees are obligated to treat their positions as a public trust, using their official powers and duties and the resources of the college only to advance the public interest. RCW 42.52, Washington State Ethics in Public Service Law, sets the ethical standards for all state employees, including Board of Trustee members.

All CPTC employees are responsible for knowing and adhering to the State Ethics Law (42.52} and regulations (WAC 292-110}. Employees should notify their supervisors of any actual or potential violations of this policy. When in doubt, employees should consult with their supervisors and/or the Ethics Advisor. Violations of State Ethics Law and/or this policy may lead to corrective or disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

The Executive Ethics Board has the authority and responsibility for investigating alleged violations(s) of the State Ethics Law and may take punitive action against the employee, in addition to any corrective/disciplinary action taken by the college. Ethics related complaints may be filed directly with the Executive Ethics Board using the form provided on their website at: Employees who file an ethics complaint shall be afforded the protection of a whistleblower under RCW 42.40. See college policy 2.7. 


Employees shall not:

  • a. have a financial or other interest or engage in any business or professional activity that is in conflict with their official duties.
  • b. use their official position to secure special privileges for themselves or any other person.
  • c. receive any compensation from a source, except the state, for performing or deferring the performance of any official duty.
  • d. accept any gifts. CPTC has designated all employees as “Section 4” employees. (See Procedure for a list of items employees are allowed to accept (those not considered gifts), specific prohibitions, and any exceptions.
  • e. disclose confidential information to an unauthorized person or use confidential information for benefit or to benefit another.
  • f. use state resources for personal benefit or to benefit another, except as required during the execution of their official duties.
  • g. use state resources for political campaigns or lobbying.
  • h. assist another person in a transaction involving the state if they participated in that transaction or the transaction was part of their job responsibilities within the past two (2) years, except as required during the execution of their official duties.

Additionally, there are rules governing former employees and those who leave state employment should review that section of the law.


The use of state resources is permitted for official state purpose. "Official state purpose" includes use of state resources to conduct official duties, activities reasonably related to the conduct of official state duties, activities related to state employment, and activities otherwise allowed by statute.

The President or his/her designee authorizes occasional and limited use of agency staff time and resources for the following purposes:

  • a. honoring all employees, contract staff, and volunteers ( e.g., staff appreciation days),
  • b. honoring individual employees/contract staff/volunteers for work-related accomplishments and retirements
  • c. departmental/group meetings and strategic planning sessions
  • d. professional development activities
  • e. activities in support of CPTC Foundation and charitable events directly related to the college’s mission.
  • f. allowing participation in state or intermittent agency sponsored health activities (e.g. vaccinations, diabetes/cholesterol or other biometric screenings or recording participation in an agency of PEBB sponsored wellness program), or
  • g. donating blood during an on-campus drive.

An employee may make occasional personal use of state resources with prior Supervisor approval only if:

  • a. there is little or no cost to the state;
  • b. any use is brief;
  • c. any use occurs infrequently;
  • d. the use does not interfere with the performance of the employee’s official duties;
  • e. the use does not compromise the security or integrity of state property, information systems or software;
  • f. the use is not for the purpose of conducting an outside business, in furtherance of private employment, or to realize a private financial gain; and
  • g. the use is not for supporting, promoting the interests of, or soliciting for an outside organization or group.


Per RCW 42.52.365, the college has appointed an ethics advisor.

The College will make ethics training available to all employees via in-house and state sponsored mediums. These trainings shall be a part of new employee orientation and regular mandatory training at least every 36 months.

State resources include but are not limited to facilities, employee time, computers, equipment, and consumable resources.

Staff with questions regarding the ethics policy should contact the ethics advisor.

When the President or his/her designee authorizes the occasional and limited use of agency staff time and resources (as described in Chapter 2 Section 5, Policy, Allowed, a-g), the following additional guidelines apply:

  • a. employees must garner supervisor approval for participation,
  • b. no single employee will spend in excess of 20 hours per fiscal year on such projects,
  • c. whenever possible and feasible, these activities should be conducted outside of office hours or at lunch or break times,
  • d. and participation should be reasonable, involve little or no cost, and should not disrupt the conduct of official business.

Gifts/Section 4 Employees

“Section 4” – In order to make any gift analysis uncomplicated, CPTC has designated all employees as Section 4 employees. In the statute, “Section 4” employees are those who participate in regulation or in the acquisition of goods and services.

Items not considered gifts which employees are allowed to accept:

  • a. Unsolicited advertising and promotional items of nominal value;
  • b. Unsolicited tokens or awards of appreciation in the form of a plaque, trophy, desk item, wall memento, or similar item (without any significant cash or resale value);
  • c. Unsolicited items received for the purpose of evaluation, if of no beneficial interest;
  • d. Publications related to official duties;
  • e. Food and beverages at hosted receptions related to official duties;
  • f. Admission to and food and beverages consumed at a charitable or civic event;
  • g. Items from family and friends if clear purpose was not to influence;
  • h. Customary items related to outside business (not connected to state duties);
  • i. Items exchanged at social events between co-workers;
  • j. Campaign contributions;
  • k. Discounts available to the individual as a member of a broad based group;

Specific Prohibitions:

  • a. All food gifts, even token gifts such a cookie, except for food accepted during hosted receptions;
  • b. Flowers, plants and floral arrangements;
  • c. Expenses (travel, room, and meals) for a speech and/or seminar;
  • d. All other gifts, regardless of value that are not specifically allowed by state law.


A prohibited gift may be accepted if it is donated to charity or given out to the public within 30 days.

Signed Procedure File

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