Washington Executive Ethics Board WAC 292-130 WAC 292-120 WAC 292-110 RCW 42.52 menu Rules Page

Education and Training 
Philosophy. Educational and training materials should not only provide a better understanding of relevant ethics laws, rules, and procedures, but should also provide state officers and employees with a foundation in the core ethical principles in public service. These materials should them the tools they need to resolve ethics problems and know when to seek advice. 

Resources. In addition to online ethics training (located on our homepage), staff is available to conduct ethics training for executive management teams. Other training is available through the Department of Personnel (DOP). To learn more, please visit our Training page.

Advice and Comment 
The Board responds to requests for guidance on whether a certain conduct or course of action might violate RCW 42.52 by issuing Advisory Opinions. Advisory Opinions interpret RCW 42.52 by applying the ethics standards to specific issues. Advisory Opinions may advise that the conduct or situation would not violate RCW 42.52; that the conduct or situation would violate; and, may provide recommendations and suggestions on how to ensure compliance.
  Staff is also available to consult with agencies and employees on whether issues or situations in the workplace might create ethics concerns under RCW 42.52. Getting advice beforehand can be an effective means of preventing violations and the need for investigations, hearings, and enforcement actions. Staff advice might also be useful in helping an employee or agency evaluate the need to request an Advisory Opinion.  Staff will also review agency policies, procedures, and ethics training programs, and provide feedback to the agency. Visit this link for Board issued Advisory Opinions Executive Ethics Board Formal Advisory Opinions

Ethics Complaints and Whistleblower ReferralsIf any state agency, state employee, or private citizen discovers potential violations under RCW 42.52, they may be forwarded to the Executive Ethics Board. Based on an investigation of the allegations and the findings, the Executive Ethics Board may either dismiss the allegations, issue a civil penalty, or a Letter of Concern, Instruction, or Reprimand. In addition, the State Auditor's Office may forward whistleblower findings in situations where the allegation includes potential violations of RCW 42.52.  What factors are used in determining whether to impose a civil penalty? 

  • The nature of the allegation;
  • The position and official duties of the employee; 
  • The potential that an agency's discliplinary or corrective action will effectively address the finding(s);
  • whether the agency had a policy or procedure in effect that should have prevented the finding(s); 
  • Whether the employee has received ethics training. 

State Employees Seeking to Contract with Their Own or Another State Agency 
As a state employee, you are not prohibited from receiving compensation or anything of economic value under a contract or grant outside of your official duties for another state agency or with your own state agency if you meet the following conditions: 

  • The contract or grant is legitimate and actually performed; the performance of the contract or grant is not within your official duties, under your supervision, or was created by you in an official capacity; the contract or grant is not performed for nor compensated by a person from who you would not be able to receive a gift; and, the contract or grant would not require the disclosure of confidential or nonpublic information.The contract or grant must be awarded through an open and competitive bidding process and more than one bid or grant application must be received; or, 
  • If only one bid or grant application is received, or the process for awarding the contract or issuing the grant was not open and competitive, seek the advice and approval of the Executive Ethics Board to determine whether the contract or grant could create a conflict of interest. 

When seeking the advice and approval of the Ethics Board, provide the following information:

  • A description of your official duties; a statement of the work to be performed under the contract or a copy of the contract; he duration and dollar value of the contract; a statement that no state resources will be used to fulfill the contract; a description of how the work will be performed without the use of state resources, including paid state time; and,
  • A statement that the employing agency has reviewed or approved the outside contract under applicable rules or policies, except when requesting a conditional approval as provided in subsection (5)(b) of this section [whereby the executive director may conditionally approve the contract or grant application when there would be no potential conflict of interest or violation of any part of RCW 42.52].

Forward this information to the Executive Director via mail, fax or email:

PO BOX 40149
OLYMPIA WA 98504-0149

VIA FAX: 360-586-3955

EMAIL: ethics@atg.wa.gov

The Director will be able to review your materials and approve the contract or grant, provided that all ethics requirements are met. If, however, a question arises as to whether you could have a conflict, disposition of the contract or grant will be forwarded to the Board for action at its next regularly scheduled meeting.

State Agency Policy Review
WAC 292-110-010(8) encourages state agencies to adopt policies applying ethical principles to their unique circumstances.
Agency policies that are approved by the Executive Ethics Board qualify for "safe harbor" under WAC 292-120-035. Please note that this rule does not prohibit an agency from adopting more restrictive policies than the minimum standards provided under the Ethics in Public Service Act. Agencies may submit written requests to the Executive Director for a preliminary review of policies incorporating ethical standards. Please include a copy of the draft or current policy and send to:

PO Box 40149
Olympia WA 98504-0149

or via email to ethics@atg.wa.gov

Click on the following link to view agency policies approved by the Board:

Board Approved Policies

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