Michigan Department of Civil Service

STATE OF MICHIGAN
BOARD OF ETHICS

The State Ethics Act (Mich. Compiled Laws 15.341 et seq) prescribes standards of conduct for public officers and employees. The Act also establishes a State Board of Ethics and specifies its jurisdiction and duties.

State Board of Ethics Meeting Notice

  • State Ethics Act
  • Rules of Practice and Procedure
  • To whom does the Act apply?
  • Who may request an Advisory Opinion?
  • What is unethical conduct?
  • How and when may an Advisory Opinion be requested?
  • What is the State Board of Ethics?
  • What is a sworn complaint?
  • Does the Board have an office and staff?
  • Who may file a sworn complaint?
  • What does the Board do?
  • How may a sworn complaint be filed?
  • What is an Advisory Opinion?
  • What happens to the complaint?
  • State Board of Ethics Members
  • Contact person for questions, complaints or requests?

  •    TO WHOM DOES THE ACT APPLY?

        The State Ethics Act applies to employees, classified and unclassified, of the executive branch of state government. The Act also applies to public officers appointed by the Governor and other executive department officials. The Act prohibits sanctions against state and local public employees and officials (elected or appointed) who report violations of the Act. The Act does NOT apply to persons in the legislative or judicial branches, or to elected persons in the executive branch.
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    WHAT IS UNETHICAL CONDUCT?

        The Act defines unethical conduct as a violation of one or more of the seven standards set forth in Section 2 of the Act. These can be summarized as: (1) unauthorized disclosure of confidential information, (2) representation of personal opinion as that of government agencies, (3) use of government resources for personal gain or benefit, (4) solicitation or acceptance of gifts or loans, (5) use of official position or confidential information for personal profit or financial benefit, (6) engaging in employment or rendering service which is incompatible with performance of official duties, and (7) participation in regulatory or supervisory functions over a business entity in which the officer or employee has a financial or personal interest.
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    WHAT IS THE STATE BOARD OF ETHICS?

        The State Board of Ethics is a seven-member body composed of residents of this state appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate. One of the members is designated by the Governor to serve as chairperson. . No more than four members of the Board may belong to the same political party. No member may be associated with public employment. All members are appointed for four-year terms at staggered intervals. The Attorney General and the State Personnel Director serve as ex-officio members without the right to vote.
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    DOES THE BOARD HAVE AN OFFICE AND STAFF?

        The Act requires that the State Personnel Director designate an Executive Secretary to the Board and provide clerical and administrative assistance from the Department of Civil Service, which is where the Board’s office is located. The Attorney General advises the Board on legal matters.
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    WHAT DOES THE BOARD DO?

        The Board reviews matters affecting ethical conduct of public officers and employees, and issues written Advisory Opinions upon qualified request. The Board also investigates sworn complaints alleging unethical conduct by public officers or employees and makes written recommendations to the appointing authority concerning those cases.
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    WHAT IS AN ADVISORY OPINION?

        An “Advisory Opinion” is a written opinion of the Board addressing a question of the ethical conduct by a public officer or employee of the executive branch of state government.
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    WHO MAY REQUEST AN ADVISORY OPINION?

        A public officer or employee, or the appointing authority or supervisory authority of a public officer or employee, may request an Advisory Opinion from the Board.
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    HOW AND WHEN MAY AN ADVISORY OPINION BE REQUESTED?

        A request for an Advisory Opinion must be submitted in writing to the Board’s Executive Secretary, who shall present it to the Board for consideration. The request should include any supporting documentation that may pertain to the subject matter of the request.
        Concerns of state employees and public officers about perceived ethical problems should be initially addressed within the employing department or agency. In the absence of a satisfactory conclusion, the public officer or employee may request an Advisory Opinion from the Board.
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    WHAT IS A SWORN COMPLAINT?

        A “sworn complaint” is a written document, submitted under oath, charging a public officer or employee of the executive branch of state government with a violation of the State Ethics Act.
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    WHO MAY FILE A SWORN COMPLAINT?

        Any citizen may file a sworn complaint with the Board.

    HOW MAY A SWORN COMPLAINT BE FILED?

        A sworn complaint must be submitted in writing to the Board’s Executive Secretary, and the complaint must be acknowledged (notarized) by a person authorized to administer oaths. The complaint should include factual evidence supporting the allegations and indicate which of the standards contained in Section 2 of the Act allegedly have been violated.
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    WHAT HAPPENS TO THE COMPLAINT?

        A copy of the complaint is served by the Board’s Executive Secretary upon the public officer or employee who is charged with the violation of the Act. The person charged then has fifteen days to file a written response. The complaint, response, and other pertinent information are provided to the Board members and other interested parties for consideration at the next scheduled meeting of the Board.
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        If the Board finds there is probable cause that a violation of the Act has occurred or is occuring and a question of fact has been presented, a public hearing on the complaint is scheduled. Upon finding that a violation of the Act has occurred, the Board will issue a written decision on the complaint. If the Board makes no such finding, the complaint is dismissed.
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    STATE BOARD OF ETHICS MEMBERS
    Robert A. Jarema, Chair
    Thomas Kern
    Reverend Bernard O’Connor
    John D. Pirich
    Wendy Anderson
    Carol L.J. Hustoles

    Leonard Wolfe

    EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS
    John F. Lopez, State Personnel Director
    Jennifer M. Granholm, Attorney General

    Persons wishing to file sworn complaints or request advisory opinions may send their complaints or requests for advisory opinions to:


    Theodore J. Benca
    Executive Secretary
    State Board of Ethics
    Michigan Department of Civil Service
    P.O. Box 30002
    Lansing, MI 48909
    (517) 373-3644
    E-Mail: ethicsboard@michigan.gov

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    Revsied: February 6, 2002