State and Local Government Conflict of Interests (COI) Act Compliance
The Commonwealth of Virginia requires the University to designate Members of the Board of Visitors and certain officers and employees of the University to file a financial disclosure statement biannually and to periodically complete the State and Local Conflict of Interests (COI) Act training course. University Board of Visitor Members are also required to file and complete the training. Both are requirements of the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act (Title 2.2, Chapter 31 of the Code of Virginia) and the Governor’s Executive Order number 33. These requirements reflect the Commonwealth’s continuing commitment that the judgment of public officers and employees will not be compromised or affected by inappropriate conflicts between personal economic interests and the official duties of Virginia’s public servants. State-wide, approximately 25,000 Virginia governmental officers and employees are required to disclose their financial interests each year.
University’s Conflict of Interests (COI) List
A list of these designated individuals is maintained and updated twice per calendar year. Individuals are selected to this list based on the criteria found in the COI Act (§2.2 - 3114) and the Governor’s Executive Order. The President and each Vice President are responsible for approving additions and deletions to the COI list. The University’s COI List includes:
Members of the Board of Visitors
Employees having substantive responsibility for finance, procurement, audit, investment, contract compliance, inspection, investigation, project management, human resources, and legal services (this list is not all inclusive)
Faculty researchers having an approved waiver from the President for a research conflict. Research conflict waivers are reported to the Board of Visitors.
Officers and/or employees having an approved waiver from the President for a procurement conflict.
Board Members remain on the University’s COI list until their appointment expires. Officers and employees remain on the list until they terminate employment or no longer require a President’s waiver for a conflict. Officers and employees may also be dropped from the University’s COI List if their assigned duties and responsibilities no longer meet the criteria for being a designated employee.
The COI Act requires financial disclosure documents to be filed twice each year. The State filing deadlines are June 15th and December 15th. An online filing system (the Conflict of Interest Disclosure System) is used to file disclosures. The System provides assistance to filers in the completion of their disclosure statement. Filers sign their completed disclosures electronically. The System also retains a copy of the filers’ previous disclosure to assist in completing future disclosures.
The June 15th filing deadline covers the reporting period of November 1st of the preceding calendar year through April 30th; the December 15th filing deadline covers the reporting period of May 1st through October 31st. The State of Virginia Ethics Council expects a subject employee to file a new financial disclosure if they work any time during these reporting periods.
The Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council’s website provides multiple financial disclosure documents. Board Members complete the “Financial Disclosure Statement”; designated officers and employees of the University, including Medical Center employees, complete the “Statement of Economic Interests”. The Disclosure of “Real Estate Holdings” document is not applicable. There is also a User’s Guide for the Conflict of Interest Disclosure System.
Financial disclosure documents are subject to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.
Filing the Statement of Economic Interests does not relieve you of your obligation to comply with other requirements of the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act.
Notification of Financial Disclosure Filing
University Board Members and designated officers and employees receive notice of their twice per year COI Act requirement from the online Conflict of Interest Disclosure System and the University’s Conflict of Interests Coordinator. The University’s Conflict of Interests Coordinator (COI Coordinator) will initiate this notice after receiving guidance from the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council.
Certain new employees may be requested to file a Statement of Economic Interests and complete the State and Local Conflict of Interests (COI) Act orientation course shortly after their arrival at the University. These individuals will be contacted by the COI Coordinator. Instructions for using the Conflict of Interests Disclosure System and accessing the COI training course will be provided. These employees are also required to file the next biannual disclosure. Research Faculty seeking a waiver from the President for a research conflict must also file a Statement of Economic Interests and complete the COI Training course at the time of their waiver request.
Late Filing of Required Financial Disclosure Documents
All officers and employees missing the COI Act’s deadlines will be reported to their respective Vice President, the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer.
Any person who does not file or who knowingly files the Statement of Economic Interests form inaccurately may be subject to criminal and/or civil penalties. Any person who knowingly files the form inaccurately may also be dismissed from office or employment.
Please contact the COI Coordinator if you have a compelling reason for filing late such as a death in the family, being on leave for health reasons. The COI Coordinator will contact the Virginia Conflict of Interests and Ethics Advisory Council and request an appropriate extension on your behalf. Approval of all extension requests are at the discretion of the Virginia Conflict of Interests and Ethics Advisory Counci.
State and Local Conflict of Interests (COI) Act Training
Notification to Complete the State Employee and Officer Training Module (COI Training)
University Board Members and designated officers and employees receive email notice to complete the required COI Training directly from the COI Coordinator. This notification is separate from the Conflict of Interest Disclosure System’s filing notification. As a result of the COI Training being required every other year, the COI Coordinator is responsible for tracking which designated employees are required to file each year. COI Training is required to be completed by subject individuals every two years.
Failure to Complete the COI Training
The COI Coordinator is responsible for keeping a public record of completion dates of all individuals completing the COI Training. Individuals failing to complete the COI Training will be reported to their respective Vice President, the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer.
Other Conflict of Interest (COI) Laws or Policies Applicable to University Faculty or Staff
In addition to the State’s COI twice per year filing and the every two year training requirement, there are other “Conflict of Interest” requirements under federal and state law or University policy that affect University Faculty and Staff. Several different University organizations administer/coordinate these COI requirements. University Human Resources is responsible for the coordination of the State of Virginia’s Conflict of Interest mandated by the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act. The Act requires certain University employees based on the level and type of their assigned job duties to be “designated” by the University to comply with the Act’s requirements. Members of the University Board of Visitors are also required to comply. Under the Act, both employees and BOV are required to file a semiannual financial disclosure form and complete training on the Conflict of Interests Act and the Ethics in Public Contracting portion of the Virginia Public Procurement Act (COI Training).
The Department of Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services has Conflict of Interests responsibility mandated by [Section 2.2-3110 of the State and local Government Conflict of Interests Act] (https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+2.2-3110) . The Act authorizes public institutions of higher education to contract with a firm in which a University employee or a member of his/her immediate family owns equity as long as the University and employee meet certain obligations designed to maintain and promote confidence in public contracting. These obligations include, but are not limited to, employees disclosing in writing their interest(s) in a firm seeking to enter into a contract with the University, and confirming that they will not participate in any part of the contract negotiation process. In addition, the President must also certify that the negotiated contract is in the best interest of the University. This process starts with a July email to all University employees requesting that they self-report any interest(s) in a firm that is contracting or plans to contract with the University. If an employee self-reports ownership in a firm and the University’s contract with the firm reaches a certain dollar threshold, the employee is required to file the State’s financial disclosure form and complete the COI training. For more information contact Eric Denby, email@example.com or (434) 924-4019.
The Office of the Vice President for Research is responsible for a Conflict of Interests process under University Policy, “Financial Conflicts of Interests for Research Investigators”, RES-005 . Research Investigators must comply with both Federal and State Conflict of Interests requirements to ensure a reasonable expectation that their design, conduct, and reporting of research will be unbiased by any conflicting financial interest(s). They must comply with the Federal Department of Health and Human Services regulations on “Promoting Objectivity in Research” – 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart F, and 45 CFR 94. They may also need to comply with the requirements of other federal agencies (e.g., Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, and the like). Research Investigators further must comply with the Virginia State and Local Conflict of Interests Act. They must disclose their “personal Interests” prior to the negotiation of the contract with the University, Section 2.2-3106 . This includes completing the State of Virginia’s financial disclosure form prior to the University President approving the exception. University Human Resources assists the Office of the Vice President for Research by coordinating the investigator’s completion of the State’s COI requirement. In some cases, research investigators may also need to self-report their “personal interests” through Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services. Once the Research Investigator has been granted an exception (Waiver from the President), the University designates the investigator to comply with the State’s COI requirement of filing a financial disclosure form and completing the COI training. For more information contact Dave Hudson, firstname.lastname@example.org or (434) 243-0900.
The School of Medicine’s (SOM) Policy on Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment, Policy ID:2.001 requires all School of Medicine Faculty and Investigators to disclose annually all financial interests that relate to institutional responsibilities using the SOM online disclosure system. Any new financial interests must be disclosed within 30 day. Recently hired SOM faculty must disclose their financial interests within 30 days of their initial appointment. This process is totally separate from Virginia’s Conflict of Interest requirements. For more information contact Steven Wasserman, email@example.com or (434)243-7088.
Other Conflict of Interest Policies:
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