Guide to Revolving Door and Post-Public Employment The following is a general guide and starting point to understanding some of the requirements of the Code of Ethics. Persons reading this guide are urged to refer to the relevant sections of the Code of Ethics (see top menu), to seek formal or informal guidance from the Ethics Commission, or to speak with legal counsel regarding the proper application of the Code of Ethics to any specific facts. Revolving Door The term “revolving door” in ethics regulation refers to situations in which a public official or employee leaves or sets aside their public position to represent their own, or other, private interests before the same government. The Code of Ethics includes provisions that regulate some activities of public officials and employees after they have left state or municipal service, or during their public service while simultaneously representing their own or someone else’s private interests before their own agency. The following information provides some general guidance on the various provisions of the Code that address such activities. Public officials and employees, present or former, with questions about these issues can call the Ethics Commission at (401)-222-3790 for informal guidance or may request a formal written advisory opinion. The Purpose of the Revolving Door Provisions In general, the purpose of the revolving door provisions is to prevent government employees and public officials from unfairly profiting from or otherwise trading upon the contacts, associations, and special knowledge that they acquired during their tenure as public servants. Representation Before Current or Former Agency You may not represent yourself or anyone else before the agency of which you are or were a member, or by which you are or were employed, or before any other agency for which your agency is or was the appointing authority, while serving and for one year after you leave your public position. You also may not serve as an expert witness before your former agency for one year after you leave your public job. If you participate in the presentation of evidence or arguments before an agency for the purpose of influencing the judgment of that agency in your own, or in someone else’s favor, that’s representation. This prohibition may apply to restrict your ability to represent yourself or others before agencies that are affiliated with, regulated by, or subsidiary to, your specific agency. For elected members of the House of Representatives or the Senate, for example, this provision applies to representation before either chamber of the entire General Assembly. For senior staff in the Governor’s Office or Department of Administration, this prohibition may apply to other executive branch agencies. The Ethics Commission may grant a hardship exception allowing you to represent yourself before your former agency. Any hardship exception will require an advisory opinion. Matters Requiring Approval by Own Board No elected or appointed official may accept any appointment or election that requires approval by the body of which he or she is or was a member to any position which carries with it financial benefit. This prohibition continues for one year after the termination of his or her membership in or on such body. The Ethics Commission may give its approval for a particular appointment or election if satisfied that denial of such employment or position would create a substantial hardship for the body, board, or municipality. Members of the General Assembly - State Employment No member of the general assembly shall seek or accept state employment, not held at the time of the member’s election, while serving in the general assembly and for a period of one year after leaving legislative office. State Elected Officials - State Employment No state elected official, while holding state office and for a period of one year after leaving state office, shall seek or accept employment with any other state agency, other than employment which was held at the time of the official’s election. The Ethics Commission may authorize an exception where such exception would not create an appearance of impropriety. However, nothing contained in the Code of Ethics shall prohibit any general officer or the General Assembly from appointing any state elected official to a senior policy-making, discretionary, or confidential position on the general officer’s or the General Assembly’s staff, and in the case of the Governor, to a position as a department director, or any state elected official from seeking or accepting same. Nor shall the Code of Ethics prohibit a state elected official from seeking or being elected to any other state constitutional office. Senior Policy-Making, Discretionary, or Confidential Employees - Other State Employment No person holding a senior policy-making, discretionary, or confidential position on the staff of any state elected official or the general assembly shall seek or accept any other employment by any state agency while serving as such policy-making, discretionary, or confidential staff member, and for a period of one year after leaving such state employment. This does not apply to prohibit a senior policy-making, discretionary, or confidential employee from seeking or being elected to any state constitutional office. Exception for employees with five or more years of state service. A person holding a senior policy-making, discretionary, or confidential staff position, who has a minimum of five years uninterrupted state service, shall be exempt from this provision. State service does not include service in any state elected office. Exception for employment in similar, senior positions. A person holding a senior policy-making, discretionary, or confidential staff position may accept another senior policy-making, discretionary, or confidential position on the staff of a general officer or the General Assembly, or to an appointment by the Governor to a position as a department director. Municipal Elected Officials and All School Committee Members - Municipal Employment No municipal elected official or municipal school committee member, whether elected or appointed, while holding office and for a period of one year after leaving municipal office, shall seek or accept employment with any municipal agency in the municipality in which the official serves, other than employment which was held at the time of the official’s election or appointment. Confidential Information Several provisions of the Code of Ethics prohibit public officials and employees from using or disclosing confidential information acquired during the course of, or by reason of, their official duties or employment, for financial gain. These prohibitions continue after an official or employee has severed from service.