Home » 4.2.2 CONFLICT OF INTEREST

4.2.2 CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Commissioners are expected to perform duties conscientiously and in a manner that will not put their personal interests in conflict with the best interests of the Edmonton Police Commission (Commission) and/or Edmonton Police Service (Service). A conflict of interest arises when a Commissioner’s private interests supersede or compete with the Commissioner’s dedication to the interests of the organization. This could arise from real, potential, or perceived conflict of interests.

Definitions:

Conflict of Interest: is any situation in which a Commissioner’s personal interests (e.g. financial, occupational or political) may affect, or appear to affect, their objectivity, judgment or ability to act in the best interests of the Commission. The interests of immediate relatives of a Commissioner are also considered to be the interests of a
Commissioner.

Potential Conflict of Interest: occurs when there exists some private interest that could influence the performance of a Commissioner’s duty or function or in the exercise of power, provided that they have not yet exercised that duty or function.

Real Conflict of Interest: occurs when a Commissioner exercises an official power or performs an official duty or function and, at the same time, knows that in the performance of that duty or function or in the exercise of power, there is the opportunity to further a private interest.

Perceived Conflict of Interest: occurs when it appears that a Commissioner’s private interests could improperly influence the performance of their duties – whether or not this is the fact.

Private Interest: means anything that can influence an employee. Private interests include, but are not limited to, direct interests, such as an employee’s own personal, family, professional or business interests. Private interests may be pecuniary (i.e. financial), which includes any actual, potential or perceived financial gain or loss. They may also be non-pecuniary, which includes any tendency toward favour or prejudice resulting from personal or family relationships.

Consensual Personal Relationships: include sexual, intimate and/or romantic relationships between adults of any sex or gender identity. These relationships may be casual, periodic or regular and may or may not constitute a primary relationship. A familial relationship of spouse or partner also constitutes a consensual personal relationship.

 

Guidelines:

  1. Commissioners must declare any potential, real or perceived conflict of interest and make a full disclosure prior to discussion of an issue or an item on the agenda.
  2. Certain disclosures may constitute confidential information and Commissioners may want to consult with either internal or external legal counsel prior to making a declaration. If a disclosure is deemed private then a determination can be made for exclusive internal, in camera, disclosure or limited-access disclosure to the general public as long as appropriate management and/or controls are put in place to address the conflict.
  3. If a Commissioner is not certain whether there is a potential, real or perceived, conflict of interest, they must bring it forward to the Commission.
  4. It is the responsibility of every Commissioner who is aware of a real, potential, or perceived conflict of interest on the part of a fellow Commissioner to raise the issue for clarification, first with the Commissioner in question, and, if still unresolved, with the Chair. Commissioners can also seek the advice of the Commission’s Executive Director and/or legal counsel.
  5. In all cases, conflicts brought to the attention of the Commission, the Commission Chair, the Vice Chair, the Executive Director, or Commission’s legal counsel must be resolved in a manner that preserves and enhances public confidence and trust in the objectivity and impartiality of the Commission.
  6. Avoid any situation that could, or could appear to, interfere with a Commissioner’s judgment in making decisions in the best interests of the Commission. Examples of situations that present a conflict of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. Influencing the purchase of goods or services for the Commission or the Service from a company or firm in which a Commissioner has financial interest;
    2. Using confidential or non-public information obtained as a Commissioner to further their private interest;
    3. Serving on the board of another organization and being in possession of information confidential to the Commission that is of importance to a matter being considered by the board of the other organization;
    4. Using their office to influence, or attempting to influence the hiring or appointment of a family member or related person by the Commission or Service;
    5. Using the Commission’s or Service’s resources or facilities for a Commissioner’s personal benefit.
  7. Commissioners should not accept entertainment, gifts or benefits that grant or may appear to grant preferential treatment to an individual or entity that conducts activities with the Commission or Service. Similarly, no Commissioner may offer entertainment, gifts, or benefits in order to secure preferential treatment for either the Commission or Service.
  8. Commissioners should fully and promptly disclose to the Commission any situation where friends, family members or associates of the member (either as an employee or consultant) provide services to the Commission or Service.
  9. Commissioners must be sensitive to the nature and frequency of contact with Service personnel and must respect the position of the Chief of Police and the organizational structure of Service. The purpose of this protocol is to protect both Commissioners and Service members from perceived conflicts of interest:
    1. The Commission and individual members do not have any direct authority over Service personnel, save and except as outlined in the Police Act and the Commission policy manual. All direction must come through the Chief of Police and approved resolutions of the Commission;
    2. Commissioners must not interfere with the Service’s operational decisions and responsibilities or with the day-to-day operation of the Service and must refrain from directing any Service personnel in their performance of their duties;
    3. Commissioners must not use their positions to attempt to influence the decisions or actions of Service personnel;
    4. Commission members should avoid business contact with the Service and its personnel;
    5. Commissioners may engage with Service personnel during sanctioned social events (grads, awards, etc.) or during site visits and other related events (ride-alongs, established committee meetings, informal meetings, etc.);
    6. Consensual personal relationships should be confidentially disclosed to the Commission’s legal counsel when an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest cannot be appropriately avoided. Note that any consensual personal relationships involving a direct hierarchical relationship (where one person has a supervisory or decision-making authority over the other) represents a potential conflict of interest and must be disclosed and managed as per Appendix I – Declaring A Conflict of Interest Procedure;
    7. Relationships, even close friendships, with Service officers in senior leadership positions heightens the risk of potential conflict of interests.
  10. All conflict of interest declarations will follow the procedures outlined in Appendix I – Declaring A Conflict of Interest Procedure.
  11. Not withstanding any of the internal controls put in place by the Commission to manage conflicts of interest, the Commission may, at their discretion, engage either an internal or external auditor to do a review to determine if there have been any breaches of policy by the Commission as a whole.

 

References:

1. Appendix I – Declaring A Conflict of Interest Procedure