Code of Ethics

Employee Conduct

Generally, the Central Arkansas Library System’s (CALS’s) standards for ethical conduct consist of following the principles of honesty, integrity, common sense, and fair play both within the workplace and in dealings with patron and business contacts. Questions about acceptable ethical conduct should be referred to immediate supervisors, Human Resources, or CALS Administration.

Employees are expected to treat colleagues with respect and courtesy and abide by the same rules of library use that apply to library patrons. Employees are responsible for paying any fines or fees incurred on their library cards and may not manipulate their records in any way.

Employees may hold a job with another organization as long as they satisfactorily perform job responsibilities with CALS. Regardless of other work requirements, employees with outside jobs will be subject to the library’s scheduling needs and judged by CALS’s performance standards. If an employee’s outside work interferes with job performance or the ability to meet initial or modified work requirements, the employee may be asked to terminate the outside employment in order to remain employed by CALS.

Failure to comply with these ethical and business standards may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Business Conduct

CALS Board members, directors, and employees shall avoid any personal influences or relationships that would affect their ability to act in an ethical manner and in the best interest of CALS. The code of business conduct is particularly concerned with conflict of interest.

A conflict of interest occurs when an individual’s private interest interferes, or appears to interfere, with adherence to the standards set by CALS for ethical conduct, or the best interests of CALS. It can arise when CALS board members or employees (or members of their family) receive personal benefits as a result of their position at CALS or are in a position outside CALS involving any regulatory or business interest relating to CALS. Specifically, the following rules of ethical conduct apply:

Board members, directors, and employees are required to disclose to CALS any financial or other relationships with suppliers, contractors, professional service providers, regulatory agencies, or other entities that would impair the independence of any judgment they may need to make regarding CALS. They shall remove themselves from a position of decision-making authority which may create the perception of conflict of interest, bias, or favoritism, either toward CALS or, conversely, toward another entity with a regulatory or business connection to CALS. Disclosure should be made to the employee’s supervisor, or to the CALS Board president, who will present the question of propriety to the appropriate entity.

Gifts, gratuities, services, loans, meals, entertainment and similar favors may not be accepted as an inducement to procure CALS’s business, or to place the recipient or the institution under any obligation to

the provider. This prohibition includes such items as food, commercial travel, lodging, and individual gifts. Small seasonal and other gifts from current contractors or vendors that are clearly in keeping with generally accepted routine business practice and good business ethics and do not obligate the recipient may be accepted, provided they can be shared with the department or branch that receive them.

Solicitation of Private and Governmental Support

CALS recognizes that private organizations and governmental entities can provide important sources of income that help CALS improve its services without additional support from taxpayers. CALS recognizes that such transactions must not involve conflicts of interests, must be transparent, and must be open to public scrutiny. Therefore, the following guidelines will be followed.

Acceptance of support

1) Support shall include cash, financial instruments, tangible personal and real property, and in-kind services.

2) Under certain conditions, support may be solicited by the library staff and board members or it may be given to CALS without solicitation.

3) Support that is solicited as competitive grants from foundations, governmental agencies or similar institutions, or from the Friends of Central Arkansas Libraries are not included in this policy although the details of those requests will be available to the public through normal reporting and financial records.

4) Support under $1,000 in any calendar year (except as noted in section 5) and where there is little likelihood of a conflict of interest are not included in this policy although the details of any request or gift below $1,000 will be available to the public through normal reporting and financial records. Support that is solicited as prizes, rewards, etc., that go directly to the public through CALS-sponsored programs are excluded from this policy. All records that relate to that support will be available to the public.

5) Employees, subject to the approval of the proper supervisor, may solicit support from vendors with whom CALS does business, or who might be reasonably expected to do business with CALS in the future, provided that the relationship with that vendor is or would be based strictly on competitive criteria.

6) The Executive Director, members of the Board of Directors, and any employee that reviews or otherwise participates in the selection process for contractors are forbidden from soliciting gifts for CALS from any vendor or potential vendor during the selection process

7) No support given to CALS under sections five and six shall contain any written or verbal stipulation that would give the vendor either an extended contract or any advantage not enjoyed by that vendor’s competitor. All support from vendors who fall under the non-competitive sections of this policy and total at least $1,000 in any calendar year shall be reported to the Board of Directors at the monthly meeting.

Support for Other Organizations

As a public entity, CALS supports organizations that may benefit from our assistance, and recognizes that such support must be transparent and open to public scrutiny.

1) CALS may occasionally purchase tickets for banquets, parties, lectures and other fund-raising events. Funds for such activities will be appropriated in the annual budget and expenditures are limited to funds held in foundation accounts.

2) CALS may provide financial support from cash or foundation accounts for community and individual disaster relief. CALS may also partner with organizations on similar projects.

3) CALS may transfer to libraries, churches, schools, correctional facilities, non-profit organizations, and social service agencies, books, AV materials, computers, furniture, and related accessories. These items must have been previously removed from our inventory because they are no longer useful to CALS, but still may be serviceable to other institutions. Items would only be available if, in the opinion of the administration, the community good of the donated material would exceed the monetary value of selling the items through public auction.

4) Any financial support to a non-system entity must come from foundation or cash accounts. No tax money may be expended on such activities.

Policy Information

Board Policy #003
Board Approval: 10/25/12
Director’s Recommendation: 10/25/12
Revision: 7/25/19