Notes from DEC/EC Meeting
Monday -- May 2, 2011

Items for Discussion/Presentations:

  1. WAGs, continued from last month
  1. 278 extensions (presented by Elton Croy):  See attached summary (pdf, 1 page).
  1. IPAs and section 208:  An employee who is on detail to the NIH from another institution remains an employee of his/her home institution. Thus, an IPA detailee may not participate in matters as a federal employee that affect his/her personal and imputed interests. This means he/she may not be assigned to participate in matters that affect his/her home institution, both specific party matters and matters of general applicability.

    If an employee is detailed full time to the NIH and is on a leave of absence from his/her home institution, a regulatory waiver allows the IPA detailee to participate in any particular matter of general applicability that affects his/her home institution as long as the matter will not have a special or distinct effect on that institution other than as part of a class. You should confirm with the institution that the detailee is on a leave of absence before applying the regulatory exemption for general matters. See 5 CFR 2640.203(b).

    If the detail is for less than 100% of the person’s time, the detailee may work on matters that affect his/her home institution while at his/her institution, or otherwise on his/her institution’s time. For example, a part-time IPA detail may be able to remain as PI on an NIH grant while serving on an IPA detail to the NIH. However, the representation ban in 18 USC 205 may prohibit some of the PI’s interactions with the NIH as PI. A co-PI may need to be appointed to handle these duties.

    Ethics officials should: 1) ask their EOs to notify them when an IPA detail is coming on board (preferably before the detailee arrives); and 2) discuss the limitations of sections 205 and 208 with the detailee’s supervisor and the detailee him/herself.
  1. Speaking engagement at grantee institution involving previously approved outside writing activity: Marketing of a book, such as participating in a book signing, is generally covered by the initial 520 (often it is incorporated into the contract) and is permitted without additional clearance.  Lectures on the book’s subject matter at a university, for example, require a new clearance which must be done on a case-by-case basis.  With book talks, the outside employer is the sponsor of the talk (the university) and not the publisher (unlike with a book signing).  Thus, a conflicts analysis between the employee’s official duties and the sponsoring entity would be required before the lecture could be cleared as an outside activity.  (Any potential conflict would be with the sponsoring entity and not the subject of the lecture; the subject matter was already cleared when the employee received permission to write the book (assuming the scope of his official duties have not changed).)
  1. Awards scenario:  Items of little intrinsic value (i.e., items without inherent value) may be accepted under the gift exclusion at 2635.203(b)(2) if such items are given to the awardee solely for presentation. However, a medal made out of precious metal, or a crystal trophy purchased from a well-known designer (e.g., Waterford or Lalique), has inherent value and would not fit the 203(b)(2) exclusion. Such a gift may be accepted by the employee if, for example, the award is deemed bona fide under section 2635.204(d)(1).
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