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On February 12, 1993, the Board of Governors issued interpretations and instructions designed to improve administration of its policy on “Political Activities of Employees” (adopted January 16, 1976, and amended February 8, 1985). The concerns that prompted Board action are discussed in the text of the enactment, a copy of which is attached to this memorandum.

This memorandum summarizes the new Board requirements and highlights the particular changes in administrative practice that each chancellor is responsible for implementing. These regulations apply to cases over which the Board of Governors has jurisdiction, viz., (1) candidacy for election or appointment to or occupancy of full-time public office; (2) candidacy for election to or membership in the General Assembly; and (3) candidacy for election or appointment to or occupancy of a major part-time office (i.e., an office for which compensation is more than nominal) by a senior administrative officer of the University.

Members of all categories of EHRA employment must receive regular and effective notice of the policies to which they are subject if they intend to pursue public officeholding. The Board has prescribed two methods for assuring such notice.

    1. A summary of the policy requirements must be published in the employment handbooks or manuals for each category of EHRA employment. The Board has supplied a sample of the type of summary to be used. The summary should be made a permanent part of such informational brochures by no later that the beginning of the 1993-94 academic year.
    2. A brief written notice, referring to the applicable policies, is to be included with the paycheck of each EHRA employee “in advance of each pending political season.” To satisfy this requirement, such a notice should be inserted with the September and May paychecks of each EHRA employee, every year. The following is a sample of the type of notice that will suffice:

University employees who wish to run for or hold any elective or appointive public office are subject to regulations adopted by the Board of Governors. For many types of office, the regulations require that before becoming a candidate for or occupying the office the University employee must make certain disclosures and receive various approvals on a prescribed schedule, or risk losing University employment. A copy of the full text of the Board regulations may be obtained at [campus office or other repository]. Advice concerning the interpretation and application of the policies may be obtained from [designated campus official].

Note that the Board directions require each campus to identify a repository where copies of the full text of the policy are to be available for inspection by interested employees; copies of this latest Board directive also should be made available to anyone who makes inquiry about their responsibilities under the policy. Further, the Board directions require that an officer of the institution be designated to provide guidance to employees in the interpretation and application of the Board policy.

An affected employee who is required to receive advance clearance to pursue candidacy or hold office (e.g., petitions designed to rebut a presumed conflict of commitment or to obtain a leave of absence) must do so on a schedule specified by the Board policy. This is a new requirement that must be effectively publicized and scrupulously observed. The schedule to be followed appears at page 14 of the attachment to this memorandum.
The most substantial change in practice mandated by the Board is the use of a prescribed form of petition by any employee who is required to obtain advance clearances from the Board with respect to contemplated involvement in political candidacy or officeholding. The required petition form and accompanying instructions appear at pages 14 through 23 of the attachment to this memorandum. Information essential to resolving questions about conflicts between employment responsibilities and political activities must be conveyed in that format.
As noted in the Board directions, these new guidelines apply to cases over which the Board has reserved jurisdiction. The respective boards of trustees continue to have residual responsibility for candidacy and officeholding with respect to major part-time offices (other than membership in the General Assembly) by employees other that senior administrators. The Board directions state that each board of trustees shall establish procedures for handing such cases, consistent with the requirements of Board policies. Trustee compliance with that requirement could be achieved most simply and clearly by adopting for trustee purposes the same requirements as the Board has posited for its cases, with respect to (1) publicizing applicable policies, (2) establishing dates for filing any necessary petitions, and (3) using the same petition form.