Advisory Opinion No. 99-41

Re: Cynthia L. Szymanski

QUESTION PRESENTED

The petitioner, a Burrillville librarian, a municipal employee position, requests an advisory opinion as to whether she may accept a $25 gift certificate to a local restaurant given to her by teachers of the Burrillville first grade classes in appreciation for petitioner’s work with the first grade classes.

RESPONSE

It is the opinion of the Rhode Island Ethics Commission that the Code of Ethics does not prohibit the petitioner, a Burrillville librarian, a municipal employee position, from accepting the $25 gift certificate from the first grade teachers. The petitioner represents that she gives tours and storytimes for first grade classes in the course of her employment at the Jesse Smith Library. This year the teachers offered her a gift certificate. Commission Regulation 36-14-5009 prohibits persons subject to the Code of Ethics from accepting gifts from interested persons. Here, however, the teachers are not interested persons as defined by the Code because they do not have a direct financial interest in decisions that the petitioner is authorized in her official role as librarian to make or to participate in making. Since the petitioner has no authority, influence or decision-making power to affect the teachers financially, Regulation 5009 does not apply and she may accept the gift certificate.

Code Citations:

36-14-5009

Related Advisory Opinions:

99-16
99-17
99-25
99-114
98-121
98-100

Keywords:

Gifts