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Code of Ethics

Government Code Section 8920, Code of Ethics

Government Code section 8920, the Code of Ethics, applies to state elected and appointive officers. It does not apply to civil service employees. The Code of Ethics generally prohibits officers from participating in decisions that will have a direct monetary effect on them.

Specifically, the Code of Ethics prohibits officers from:

  • having any direct or indirect financial interest, or
  • engaging in any business transaction or professional activity, or incurring any financial obligation
  • if to do so would be in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of the official’s duties..

A substantial conflict arises when an official expects to derive a direct monetary gain or suffer a direct monetary loss by reason of his or her official activity. Where the officer will be so affected by a decision, the officer should disqualify himself or herself from the decision.

A substantial conflict does not exist if an official accrues no greater benefit or detriment as a member of a business, profession, occupation or group than any other member.

Violations are punishable as misdemeanors.

Remember These Points

  • The code applies to state elected and appointive officers.
  • Officers are prohibited from participating in decisions that will have a direct monetary effect on them.

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