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Conflict of Interests (COI) - How the Act Affects You

In keeping with the Code of Virginia, Title 2.2, Chapter 31 State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act finds and declares that citizens are entitled to be assured that the judgment of public officers and employees will be guided by a law that defines and prohibits inappropriate conflicts and requires disclosure of economic interests.

A conflict of interests occurs when a university employee or a member of his/her immediate family has a personal interest, or benefits or suffers from his/her participation in a contract or transaction considered by JMU. No JMU employee shall have a personal interest in a contract with JMU, other than that employee’s own contract of employment.

It is the responsibility of each JMU employee to comply with the Act. Any employee who believes he/she may be in violation of the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act has the right and obligation to seek a written advisory opinion from the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia or the Council and thereby avoid prosecution and loss of employment.

Additionally, as a requirement of the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act, university employees in certain designated positions are obligated to disclose their financial interests in order to prevent inappropriate conflicts between personal economic interests and the official duties. University employees designated to file disclosure statements include presidents, vice presidents, provosts, deans, and persons with decision-making authority regarding 1) policy, 2) contracts and procurement, 3) audits, 4) licensure, 5) inspections and investigations, 6) investments or other financial matters.

Completing a Conflict of Interest disclosure is designed to protect the Commonwealth, JMU and you from being involved with an intentional or unintentional work-related transaction that could be or appear to be inappropriate.

Interesting facts and figures: State-wide, approximately 25,000 Virginia governmental officers and employees are required to disclose their financial interests. At JMU, approximately 90 employees were notified in 2016 to file Statements of Economic Interests.

Statement of Economic Interests (SOEI) are filed online via the Conflict of Interests Disclosure System, which is managed by the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council. Filing occurs when the individual assumes employment in a designated position and then annually, by Febuary 1. Information pertaining to real estate, business interests, gifts, travel, liabilities, directorships and other matters is subject to disclosure. Disclosure statements are available for review by the public for a period of no less than five years.

Electronic notifications to file and/or to meet training obligations are sent to employees in designated positions by the Council and by JMU’s COI Agency Coordinator.

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