Conflict of Interest Code : Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a Conflict of Interest Code?
  2. What are the three elements of a Conflict of Interest Code?
  3. What is a Statement of Economic Interests – Form 700?
  4. How do I know if I must file a Statement of Economic Interests?
  5. Why do I have to file a Statement of Economic Interests?
  6. When do I have to file?
  7. Where do I have to file?
  8. How do I complete my Statement of Economic Interests?
  9. Who will see my form?
  10. What else should I know?
  11. Where do I go for help?

 

1. What is a Conflict of Interest Code?

 A Conflict of Interest Code is a set of rules and regulations adopted pursuant to the Political Reform Act. The act requires all California cities to adopt and implement a Conflict of Interest Code.

Each Conflict of Interest Code designates positions required to file a Statement of Economic Interests - Form 700, and assigns disclosure categories specifying the types of interests to be reported. The Form 700 is a public document. In the City of Berkeley, disclosure requirements for designated positions are identified on each department and commission disclosure appendix.

The types of interests you must disclose depend upon the responsibilities of your designated position. The disclosure requirements may include the reporting of investments, business positions, interests in real property, income and other financial interests. The Political Reform Act contains specific provisions setting forth the circumstances under which employees and commissioners must disqualify themselves from making, participating in or influencing a governmental decision.

The City Clerk administers the Conflict of Interest Code at the local level and notifies elected officials and each designated employee and commissioner of his or her filing obligation. Codes are reviewed biennially to keep them current. Codes and code revisions are adopted by Council resolution.

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2. What are the three elements of a Conflict of Interest Code?

  1. Terms of the Code (the "Body")
    The essential terms of a Conflict of Interest Code are found in the code's main body, which includes such provisions as the manner of reporting financial interests, disqualification procedures, and other information. The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) recommends that agencies incorporate FPPC Regulation 18730 by reference because the information required to be in a code's main body is complex and may change over time. Regulation 18730 contains all the necessary provisions. The FPPC periodically amends this regulation to include legislative and regulatory changes. By incorporating FPPC Regulation 18730 by reference, the body of the code automatically stays in compliance with the Political Reform Act.
  2. Designated Positions
    A Conflict of Interest Code must specifically list positions that make or participate in making decisions. Typically, positions that involve voting on matters, negotiating contracts, or making recommendations on purchases without substantive review must be included in the code. Persons holding positions listed in Government Code section 87200 are considered "statutory filers." Such persons include the Mayor, City Councilmembers, the City Attorney, the City Manager, Planning Commissioners, Zoning Adjustments Boardmembers and persons who manage public investments.
  3. Disclosure Categories
    The primary purpose of the Conflict of Interest Code is the requirement to disclose types of financial interests, business positions and property that may be affected by the decision-making of persons holding designated positions. The City of Berkeley also requires the disclosure of non-profit interests. Each position designated in the Conflict of Interest Code is assigned a unique disclosure requirement .

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3. What is a Statement of Economic Interests – Form 700?

The Statement of Economic Interests (Fair Political Practices Commission Form 700) is a public document which certain public officials, government employees, commissioners and consultants designated in the City’s Conflict Code, use to disclose personal financial interests. The City of Berkeley’s Conflict of Interest Code also requires disclosure of interests and positions in non-profit organizations on this form.

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4. How do I know if I must file a Statement of Economic Interests?

The City Clerk will inform you by letter that you must file a Statement of Economic Interests. If you are unsure of your status, you can always check the Conflict of Interest Code posted on this website.

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5. Why do I have to file a Statement of Economic Interests?

The California Political Reform Act (Gov. Code Sections 81000-91014), in conjunction with the City of Berkeley's Conflict of Interest Code requires the filing of Statements of Economic Interests. The Act States that:

"Assets and income of public officials which may be materially affected by their official actions should be disclosed (and in appropriate circumstances the officials should be disqualified from acting in order that conflicts of interest may be avoided)" Section 81002(c)

Public officials and designated employees must file Statements of Economic Interests. Public officials are specified in Government Code Section 87200. They include Mayors, Councilmembers, City Attorneys, City Managers, Planning Commissioners, and persons who manage public investments. Additionally, candidates for elected positions are required to file a Candidate statement. Designated employees hold positions that involve making or participating in the making of decisions, which may foreseeably have a material effect on the holder’s financial interests. Such positions are listed in the city’s conflict of interest code; people in these positions must file Statements of Economic Interests – Form 700 pursuant to the disclosure categories specified in that code.

For more information on this subject please review the FPPC Guide Your Duty to File (PDF, 960 KB).
Note: Document opens in a new browser window. To read PDF files, download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

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6. When do I have to file?

The Statement of Economic Interests - Form 700 must be filed under the following circumstances:

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7. Where do I have to file?

The completed Statement of Economic Interests - Form 700 must be received in the City Clerk Department, 2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704 on or before the filing deadline. Faxes are not accepted and the Form 700 must include an original signature.

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8. How do I complete my Statement of Economic Interests?

This depends upon what interests you are required to disclose, and what interests you hold. The City Clerk will supply you with the Form 700 and the appropriate department or commission Appendix, which outlines the disclosure categories.

 

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9. Who will see my form?

Once filed, the Form 700–Statement of Economic Interests is a public document, and must be made available to the public on request. Filers must sign the Form 700 under penalty of perjury.

By law, original Form 700s filed by the Mayor and City Council, City Manager, City Attorney, Finance Director, Planning Commission and Zoning Adjustments Board are sent to the FPPC and copies are kept on file by the City Clerk Department. All other original forms are retained by the City Clerk Department.

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10. What else should I know? 

FILE ON TIME! Late filers may face fines or other penalties. Commissioners who do not file within 30 days of specific written notice provided by the City Clerk will be terminated.

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11. Where do I go for help?

Berkeley City Clerk Department 

 

Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) - http://www.fppc.ca.gov/

Other Resources

 

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