Material & Disbursement Services (MSD)
Effective Date: 07/01/1995
Last Modified Date: 01/31/1996
The two North Carolina Statutes prohibiting conflicts of interest by public officials are General Statute Sections 14-234 and 14-236:
14-234. DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC TRUST CONTRACTING FOR HIS OWN BENEFIT; PARTICIPATION IN BUSINESS TRANSACTION INVOLVING PUBLIC FUND; EXEMPTIONS. (a) If any person, appointed or elected a commissioner or director to discharge any trust wherein the State or any county, city, or town may be in any manner interested, shall become an undertaker, or make any contract for his own benefit, under such authority, or be in any manner concerned or interested in making such contract, or in the profits thereof, either privately or openly, singly or jointly with another, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Provided, that this section shall not apply to public officials transacting business with banks or banking institutions or savings and loan associations or public utilities regulated under the provisions of Chapter 62 of the General Statutes in regular course of business: Provided further, that such undertaking or contracting shall be authorized by said governing board by specific resolution on which such public official shall not vote.
(b) Nothing in this section nor in any general principle of common law shall render unlawful the acceptance of remuneration from a governmental board, agency or commission for services, facilities, or supplies furnished directly to needy individuals by a member of said board, agency or commission under any program of direct public assistance being rendered under the laws of this State or the United States to needy persons administered in whole or in part by such board, agency or commission; provided, however, that such programs of public assistance to needy persons are open to general participation on a nondiscriminatory basis to the practitioners of any given profession, professions or occupation; and provided further that the board, agency or commission, nor any of its employees or agents, shall have no control over who, among licensed or qualified providers, shall be selected by the beneficiaries of the assistance, and that the remuneration for such services, facilities or supplies shall be in the same amount as would be paid to any other provider; and provided further that, although the board, agency or commission member may participate in making determinations of eligibility of needy persons to receive the assistance, he shall take no part in approving his own bill or claim for remuneration.
(c) No director, board member, commissioner, or employee of any State department, agency, or institution shall directly or indirectly enter into or otherwise participate in any business transaction involving public funds with any firm, corporation, partnership, person or association which at any time during the preceding two-year period had a financial association with such director, board member, commissioner or employee.
(c1) The fact that a person owns ten percent (10%) or less of the stock of a corporation or has a ten percent (10%) or less ownership in any other business entity or is an employee of said corporation or other business entity does not make the person "in any manner interested" or "concerned or interested in making such contract, or in the profits thereof," as such phrase is used in subsection (a) of this section, and does not make the person one who "had a financial association," as defined in subsection (c) of this section ; provided that in order for the exception provided by this subsection to apply, such undertaking or contracting must be authorized by the governing board by specific resolution on which such public official shall not vote.
(d) The provisions of subsection (c) shall not apply to any transactions meeting the requirements of Article 3, Chapter 143 of the General Statutes or any other transaction specifically authorized by the Advisory Budget Commission.
(d1) The first sentence of subsection (a) shall not apply to (i) any elected official or person appointed to fill an elective office of a village, town, or city having a population of no more than 7,500 according to the most recent official federal census, (ii) any elected official or person appointed to fill an elective office of a county within which there is located no village, town, or city with a population of more than 7,500 according to the most recent official federal census, (iii) any elected official or person appointed to fill an elective office on a city board of education in a city having a population of no more than 7,500 according to the most recent official federal census, (iv) any elected official or person appointed to fill an elective office as a member of a county board of education in a county within which there is located no village, town or city with a population of more than 7,500 according to the most recent official federal census, (v) any physician, pharmacist, dentist, optometrist, veterinarian, or nurse appointed to a county social services board, local health board, or area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse board serving one or more counties within which there is located no village, town, or city with a population of more than 7,500 according to the most recent official federal census, and (vi) any member of the board of directors of a public hospital if:
(1) The undertaking or contract or series of undertakings or contracts between the village, town, city, county, county social services board, county or city board of education, local health board or area mental health developmental disabilities, and substance abuse board, or public hospital and one of its officials is approved by specific resolution of the governing body adopted in an open and public meeting, and recorded in its minutes and the amount does not exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for medically related services and fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) for other goods or services within a 12 month period; and
(2) The official entering into the contract or undertaking with the unit or agency does not in his official capacity participate in any way or vote; and
(3) The total annual amount of undertakings or contracts with each official, shall be specifically noted in the audited annual financial statement of the village, town, city, or county; and
(4) The governing board of any village town city, county, county social services board, county or city board of education, local health board, area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse board, or public hospital which undertakes or contracts with any of the officials of their governmental unit shall post in a conspicuous place in its village, town, or city hall, or courthouse, as the case may be, a list of all such officials with whom such undertakings or contracts have been made, briefly describing the subject matter of the undertakings or contracts and showing their total amounts; this list shall cover the preceding 12 months and shall be brought up-to-date at least quarterly.
(d2) The provision of subsection (d1) shall not apply to contracts required by Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes, Public Building Contracts.
(e) Anyone violating this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
14-236. ACTING AS AGENT FOR THOSE FURNISHING SUPPLIES FOR SCHOOLS AND OTHER STATE INSTITUTIONS. If any member of any board of directors, board of managers, board of trustees of any of the educational, charitable, eleemosynary or penal institutions of the State, or any member of any board of education, or any county or district superintendent or examiner of teachers, or any trustee of any school or other institution supported in whole or in part from any of the public funds of the State, or any officer, agent, manager, teacher, or employee of such boards, shall have any pecuniary interest, either directly or indirectly, proximately or remotely in supplying any goods, wares, or merchandise of any nature or kind whatsoever for any of said institutions or schools; or if any of such officers, agents, managers, teachers, or employees of such institution or school or State or county officer shall act as agent for any manufacturer, merchant, dealer, publisher, or author for any article of merchandise to be used by any of said institutions or schools; or shall receive, directly or indirectly, any gift, emolument, reward or promise of reward for his influence in recommending or procuring the use of any manufactured article, goods, wares, or merchandise of any nature or kind whatsoever by any of such institutions or schools, he shall be forthwith removed from his position in the public service, and shall upon conviction be deemed guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. This section shall not apply to members of any board of education which is subject to and complies with the provisions of G.S. 14-234(d1).
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