Thread: Conflict of interest?
09-16-2004, 09:37 AM #1
Conflict of interest?
I have a question concerning a possible conflict of interest, and if it would mess up our chances in getting awarded.
A politician has filmed interviews of himself and patrons at our latest pancake breakfast fundraiser in our firehouse. Can this be construed as our fire company supporting this candidate since it was filmed in the station? And if so, does it complicate matters with a possible award? It is our policy to not support or endorse any candidate or political party as a Company. I have looked through the FEMA guidelines and haven't found anything pertaining to this. The Assurances and Certifications sections contain stuff on lobbying, but I can't see how that applies to this situation. Do any of you know of anything different?
At this point we haven't heard anything concerning an award, and its the farthest we've been in the process in since the inception of the program. At this point I may be paranoid, but I don't want to have the political aspirations of a candidate mess this up.
09-16-2004, 12:22 PM #2
I wouldn't worry about it for a couple of reasons.
First, There is no evidence that indicates that elected officials have any influence in whether you get a grant or not. Second, the Federal requirement against lobbying deals specifically with hiring a professional lobbying firm, elected officials are not considered lobbiests. Third, elected officials get their pictures taken at FD's all the time. FD's are public entities and great photo ops. Just as when a presidential candidate visits a community and the high school band plays at the rally there is no "implied endorsement", likewise the same thing when a politician vistits an FD, their is no implied endorsement.....
09-16-2004, 12:28 PM #3
- Join Date
- Dec 2002
- Rural Iowa
No. What possible relivance would this have to anything? Public facility/equipment/service.
Better question is did you take him/her by the hand and show your department, talk about what you can do and WHAT YOUR PROBLEMS/SHORTFALLS ARE. You did not say if was a candidate for dog catcher or Dem cand. for president (same guy). Local elected official can be your allie or in your way. Higher candidate knowing your name/face can only help you.
Make sure you also invite his/her opponent in for a visit (if at all a viable candidate). You're not partisan servants of the public. Work both sides of the aisle, even if you have to hold your nose at times.
09-16-2004, 02:11 PM #4
We absolutely took the opportunity to make ourselves known, but wanted to make sure it wouldn't screw things up with the grant prior to signing any consent or release forms. I understand that it was a reach when I posed the question, but stranger things have happened, especially with the competitiveness of the program.
Let me give you an idea of where I'm coming from. The Ethics Commission in the State is fining a Mayor because he is donating his money from officiating at weddings to local charities (Little League FD's, shelters, etc). Their reasoning is that it is portraying him in a positive light and could influence voters to vote for him. Yes, I know, ridiculous, absurd, (fill in the blank here) _______________, but such is the world we live in. I know the two things are unrelated and different circumstances, but long story short I didn't want to read the headline "Company's grant money revoked due to political affiliation."
09-17-2004, 10:34 AM #5
The only way that I could see a problem is if you get a grant, and take a portion of the grant and donate it to the elected officials campaign fund......I'm guessing that may be a problem
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