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Section 3: Conflicts of Interest and Ethics

Overview

Avoid the appearance of unprofessional behavior. Treat other employees, contractor employees and representatives, other project related personnel and the general public with respect and fairness. Maintain a courteous demeanor and employ restraint at all times when representing the department.

Do not participate in any activity that could be considered a possible conflict of interest. Refer to “Conflict of Interest” of the Human Resources Manual for more information. In addition to the Human Resources Manual, be familiar with the requirements of the Texas Penal Code which covers gifts to public servants (Section 36.08 of the Texas Penal Code titled "Gift to Public Servant by Person Subject to His Jurisdiction" and Section 36.09 titled "Offering Gift to Public Servant").

Gifts, Benefits, and Favors

Do not accept or agree to accept gifts, benefits, or favors from any person, company, organization, or other entity that:

  • could influence or reasonably appear to influence department personnel in performing their duties
  • conducts any business with the department
  • could reasonably be expected to do business with the department in the future or
  • is regulated by the department in any way, including:
    • auditing
    • monitoring
    • inspecting
    • testing
    • supervising or
    • measuring.

However, employees may:

  • accept ordinary business lunches
  • accept token items* that do not exceed an estimated value of $25 where the items are distributed generally as a normal means of advertising and
  • visit dining or hospitality rooms or similar facilities, provided they have no restrictions on visitors, and are in conjunction with a conference, meeting, or other event approved by the department.

    NOTE: Obtain prior approval of the Executive Director as requested by a DE/DD/OD through the Office of General Counsel for exceptions to this policy.

Computers and Cellular Telephones

When shown in the contract, or included by change order, contractor provided computers and cellular telephones may be used by department employees. Comply with the department computer and cell phone usage policy and requirements when using contractor provided computers and cell phones.

Non-TxDOT Internet Access

From the Information Security Manual, Chapter 11, Section 4, “Internet Access”:

“TxDOT employees who are provided access to non-TxDOT owned and/or provided equipment, computers, and/or services (information resources) for Internet use must at all times adhere to the same policies and procedures governing TxDOT owned and/or provided equipment, computers, and services for Internet access, as described in this manual. This policy applies to all TxDOT regular/full-time, part-time and temporary employees, contractors and consultants, students, interns and volunteers.

For example: A situation may occur in the field in which a TxDOT employee is given access to a contractor’s laptop and Internet service to use in the performance of their job duties. This access is to be used only for TxDOT, work-related functions.

Violation of these requirements and policies may lead to loss of Internet access privileges, disciplinary action, including termination of employment, and legal action including, civil, and criminal prosecution.”

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