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Title 43 Subtitle A Part 20

Title 43 → Subtitle A → Part 20

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 43 Subtitle A Part 20

e-CFR data is current as of July 11, 2019

Title 43Subtitle A → Part 20


Title 43: Public Lands: Interior


PART 20—EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBILITIES AND CONDUCT


Contents

Subpart F—Disciplinary and Remedial Actions

§20.601   General.
§20.602   Remedial action.
§20.603   Appealing an order for remedial action.

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301, 7301; 5 U.S.C. App. (Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1950); 30 U.S.C. 1211; 43 U.S.C. 11, 31(a); 5 CFR 2634.903, 2634.905.

Source: 62 FR 53720, Oct. 16, 1997, unless otherwise noted.

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Subpart A—General Provisions

§20.101   Cross-references to ethical conduct, financial disclosure and other applicable regulations.

In addition to the rules in this part, employees of the Department of the Interior also should refer to the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, at 5 CFR part 2635; the Department's regulations that supplement those executive branch-wide standards at 5 CFR part 3501; the employee responsibilities and conduct regulations at 5 CFR part 735; and the executive branch financial disclosure regulations at 5 CFR part 2634.

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§20.102   Definitions.

(a) The following terms are used throughout this part and have the following meanings:

(1) Department means the U.S. Department of the Interior and any of its components.

(2) Secretary means the Secretary of the Interior.

(3) Bureau means each major program operating component of the Department, the Office of the Secretary, the Office of the Solicitor, and the Office of the Inspector General.

(4) Employee means a regular employee, a special Government employee, and a contract education employee in the Office of the Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs or the Bureau of Indian Affairs, unless the text of a particular subpart, section, or paragraph indicates that either regular employees or special Government employees are not intended to be covered by that subpart, section or paragraph. Volunteers in National Parks whose services are accepted pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 18g are not employees.

(b) Specific definitions. Additional definitions of terms specifically associated with a particular subpart, section, or paragraph are found in that subpart, section, or paragraph.

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§20.103   Employee responsibilities.

It is the responsibility of each employee:

(a) To be familiar with and to comply with all Federal statutes, Executive Orders, and regulations that govern his or her conduct. Employees are expected to consult with their supervisors and servicing ethics counselors on questions they may have regarding the applicability of any ethics or other conduct provision. Ethics advice may also be obtained from the Solicitor's Office and the Department Ethics Office.

(b) To report directly or through appropriate channels to the Office of Inspector General or other appropriate authority matters coming to their attention which do or may involve violations of law or regulation by employees, contractors, sub-contractors, grantees, subgrantees, lessees, licensees or other persons having official business with the Department.

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Subpart B—Department Ethics Program

§20.201   Ethics officials.

(a) Designated Agency Ethics Official refers to the official designated under 5 CFR 2638.201 to coordinate and manage the Department's ethics program.

(b) The head of each bureau is the “Ethics Counselor” for that bureau, except that the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy is the Ethics Counselor for employees in the Office of the Secretary and related offices. The Solicitor is the Ethics Counselor for the Office of the Solicitor and the Inspector General is the Ethics Counselor for the Office of Inspector General.

(c) The personnel officer for each bureau or other qualified employee who has been delegated responsibility for the operational duties of the Ethics Counselor for the bureau, it the “Deputy Ethics Counselor” for that bureau.

(d) A bureau, regional, or area personnel officer or other qualified employee may be assigned to serve as an “Associate Ethics Counselor” or “Assistant Ethics Counselor,” with delegated responsibility to perform the operational duties of the Ethics Counselor at the field level. Associate Ethics Counselors or Assistant Ethics Counselors may also be designated within the bureau headquarters.

[62 FR 53720, Oct. 16, 1997, as amended at 63 FR 34259, June 24, 1998]

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§20.202   Ethics program responsibilities.

(a) The Designated Agency Ethics Official (or the alternate agency ethics official in his or her absence) shall coordinate and manage the department's ethics program in accordance with 5 CFR 2638.203.

(b) Each Ethics Counselor shall, for his or her bureau:

(1) Order disciplinary or remedial action in accordance with the provisions of subpart F of this part. This authority may not be redelegated.

(2) Designate: (i) The Bureau Personnel Officer (or other qualified headquarters employee) as Deputy Ethics Counselor to carry out operational duties of the Ethics Counselor within their bureaus under the general direction of the Ethics Counselor; and

(ii) Headquarters bureau, regional, or area personnel officers (or other qualified employees) as Associate Ethics Counselors or Assistant Ethics Counselors to perform ethics counseling and the collection and review of financial disclosure reports.

(3) Ensure that vacancy announcements for positions which require a public or confidential financial disclosure report alert applicants to the filing requirement.

(4) Establish and maintain internal procedures and guidelines to adequately and systematically inform employees of the content, meaning, and importance of ethical conduct and other conduct regulations.

(c) All supervisors may make decisions as to whether conduct by employees under their supervision would result in the appearance that the employee would violate or is violating the ethical standards set forth in 5 CFR 2635; all supervisors are expected, therefore, to be familiar with those standards. In addition, any supervisor who grants prior approval of an employee's outside employment under 5 CFR 3501.105(b) is expected, at a minimum, to provide information to the employee about the prohibitions in 18 U.S.C. 203, 205 and 208 at the time such approval is granted.

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§20.203   Exclusion from confidential financial disclosure requirement for certain special Government employees.

In an instance involving the proposed employment of a special Government employee for highly specialized and limited duties, the head of the bureau or office may propose to the Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO) a reporting of financial interests restricted to such interests as may be determined to be relevant to the duties the special Government employee is to perform. The DAEO may, under the provisions of 5 CFR 2634.905, exclude the special Government employee from all or a portion of the confidential reporting requirements of the OGE Form 450. Any confidential financial disclosure requirement must be satisfied by the special Government employee before he begins his employment.

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Subpart C—Acceptance and Payment of Travel and Related Expenses

§20.301   General policy.

(a) Except as specifically authorized by law, when an employee is on official duty (no leave status), all travel and accommodations shall be at Government expense and his or her acceptance of outside reimbursement for travel expenses or services in kind from private sources, either in his or her behalf or in behalf of the Government, is not allowed.

(b) Under certain circumstances, the Department may charge a fee or accept reimbursement for providing a service or thing of value to a private source when the service or thing of value provided benefits to both the Government and the particular private source (31 U.S.C. 9701). In such instances only a portion of the costs can be accepted from the private source. The Department must pay expenses associated with its usual official business and for the benefits it receives from participating in the event. The private source can be charged or may reimburse the Department for that portion of the service provided that exceeds the Department's usual expenses and the benefits to the Government. Under this provision, payments from private sources must be deposited in the U.S. Treasury unless the bureau receiving the payment is authorized by statute to accept such payments.

(c) When a bureau is authorized by statute other than 31 U.S.C. 1353 to accept gifts, and 31 U.S.C. 1353 does not apply, the travel expenses incurred by an employee directed to participate in a convention, seminar, or similar meeting sponsored by a private source for the mutual interest of the Government and the private source may be reimbursed to the bureau and credited to its appropriation. The employee shall be paid by the bureau in accordance with the law relating to reimbursement for official travel and any accommodations and goods or services in kind furnished an employee shall be treated as a donation to the bureau and an appropriate reduction shall be made to the employee's reimbursement (46 CG 689 (1967)).

(d) When participation at a function is not in an official capacity, an employee may accept reimbursement of travel and accommodation expenses from a private source, provided that such acceptance is permitted by law and Federal regulations. Participation as a private citizen must occur on one's own time, such as while on leave. If participation should occur during the course of official travel (i.e., evening or weekend hours during official travel status), the travel voucher submitted for Government reimbursement of official duty expenses must be adjusted to claim only that per diem and travel attributable to official duty. Employees who are in positions for which the rate of pay is specified in 5 U.S.C. 5311-5318 (the Executive Schedule) are on 24-hour duty, and determinations of what constitutes official duty and what is private participation should be carefully made.

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§20.302   Exclusions.

(a) Where employee travel is for attendance at a meeting or similar function (31 U.S.C. 1353(a)), the Department may accept payment for the employee and/or the employee's spouse's travel from a non-Federal source when proper consideration is given to the conditions in paragraph (a)(1) of this section and a written authorization to accept payment is issued in advance of the travel.

(1) Conditions. Such travel expenses paid for by a non-Federal source may be accepted by the Department only if all of the following conditions are met:

(i) The travel relates to the employee's official duties;

(ii) The travel, subsistence and related expenses are with respect to the attendance of an employee (and/or the accompanying spouse of such employee when applicable) at a meeting or similar function. This includes a conference, seminar, speaking engagement, symposium, training course, or similar event that takes place away from the employee's official station, and is sponsored or cosponsored by a non-Federal source;

(iii) The non-Federal source is not disqualified because of a real or apparent conflict of interest as determined under paragraph (a)(2) of this section; and

(iv) The travel event is not required to carry out the Department's statutory or regulatory functions. Examples of statutory or regulatory functions that are essential to the Department's mission include investigations, inspections, audits, site visits, compliance reviews or program evaluations.

(2) Conflict of interest analysis. (i) The Department's acceptance of any payment from a non-Federal source under the authority of 31 U.S.C. 1353 shall not be approved when an Authorized Approving Official, identified in paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section, determines that under the circumstances, acceptance of the travel expenses would cause a reasonable person with knowledge of all relevant facts to:

(A) Question the integrity of the work to be performed by the employee receiving the benefit; or

(B) Question the integrity of the Department's other program operations.

(ii) When making these determinations, an Authorized Approving Official shall be guided by all relevant considerations including, but not limited to:

(A) The identity of the non-Federal source and the source's relationship to the Department;

(B) The purpose of the meeting or similar function and its relationship to the Department's programs or operations;

(C) The identity of other expected participants and their relationship to the Department;

(D) The nature and sensitivity of any pending Department matter which, when decided, may affect the interests of the non-Federal source;

(E) The significance of the employee's role in any such pending matter;

(F) The monetary value and character of the travel benefits offered by the non-Federal source; and

(G) The potential reaction from Department customers, including the public, if the acceptance of travel expenses was made known to them.

(iii) An “Authorized Approving Official” means that Department official who has been delegated authority to approve the usual travel authorizations of the employee who will benefit from the non-Federal travel payment.

(iv) The procedures stated below must be satisfied before the employee (and/or the accompanying spouse) begin his or her travel:

(A) Each employee (and/or the accompanying spouse) must have an approved Travel Authorization (Form DI-1020). Section 10 (“Purpose and Remarks”) of this Form must contain a statement that the authority to accept payment from a non-Federal source for the specified travel event is 31 U.S.C. 1353, and the travel situation complies with the conditions for acceptance under 41 CFR 304-1.4.

(B) The supplementary form entitled, “Report of Payments Accepted From Non-Federal Sources Under 31 U.S.C. 1353” (Form DI-2000) must also be completed and signed by the employee and the Authorized Approving Official. A copy of Form DI-1020 and Form DI-2000 must be filed with the employee's Deputy Ethics Counselor.

(C) Payment from a non-Federal source to cover the travel related expenses of an employee may be made in the form of a check or similar instrument made payable to the Department. Employees should not accept cash or negotiate checks or similar instruments payable to them. Any negotiable instruments received by an employee shall be transmitted immediately to the appropriate accounting office.

(b) When on official duty, contributions and awards incident to training in non-Government facilities, and payment of travel, subsistence, and other expenses incident to attendance at meetings may be accepted by an employee when the payment is made by a non-profit, tax exempt organization as described in 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) and when no real or apparent conflict of interest will result. Prior advice should be obtained from the employee's ethics counselor in this circumstance (5 U.S.C. 4111).

(c) Employees may accept reimbursement by the Department for travel and related expenses when on detail under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 3375.

(d) Should the Director of the United States Information Agency, with the approval of the employing agency, assign an employee to a foreign government, reimbursement for the employee's pay and allowances shall be made to the United States in an amount equal to the compensation, travel expenses, and allowances payable to such person during the period of such assignment, in accordance with 22 U.S.C. 1451.

(e) Should an employee be detailed by the Secretary to an international organization which requests services, the employee is deemed to be (for the purpose of preserving his or her allowances, privileges, rights, seniority, and other benefits) an employee of the Department and the employee is entitled to pay, allowances, and benefits from funds available to the Department. The international organization may reimburse the Department for all or part of the pay, travel expenses, and allowances payable during the detail; or, the detailed employee may be paid or reimbursed directly by the international organization for allowances or expenses incurred in the performance of duties required by the detail without regard to 18 U.S.C. 209 (5 U.S.C. 3343).

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Subpart D—Special Provisions Governing Financial and Other Outside Interests of Certain Employees of the Department

§20.401   Interests in Federal lands.

(a) Statutory prohibition applicable to employees of the Bureau of Land Management. (1) In accordance with 43 U.S.C. 11, employees of the Bureau of Land Management are prohibited from voluntarily acquiring a direct or indirect interest in Federal lands.

(2) Definitions. For purposes of applying the prohibition in 43 U.S.C. 11:

(i) Federal lands. means public lands or resources or an interest in lands or resources administered or controlled by the Department, including, but not limited to, all submerged lands lying seaward outside of the area of “lands beneath navigable water” as defined in 43 U.S.C. 1301(a), and of which the subsoil and seabed appertain to the United States and are subject to its jurisdiction and control.

(ii) Direct interest in Federal lands means any employee ownership or part ownership in Federal lands or any participation in the earnings therefrom, or the right to occupy or use the property or to take any benefits there from, based upon a contract, grant, lease, permit, easement, rental agreement, or application. Direct interest in Federal lands also includes:

(A) Membership or outside employment in a business which has interests in Federal lands; and.

(B) Ownership of stock or other securities in corporations determined by the Department to have an interest in Federal lands directly or through a subsidiary.

(iii) Indirect interest in Federal lands means any ownership or part ownership of an interest in Federal lands by an employee in the name of another where the employee still reaps the benefits. Indirect interest in Federal lands also includes:

(A) Holdings in land, mineral rights, grazing rights or livestock which in any manner are connected with or involve the substantial use of the resources or facilities of the Federal lands; or

(B) Substantial holdings of a spouse or minor child.

(b) Statutory prohibition applicable to employees of the U.S. Geological Survey. (1) In accordance with 43 U.S.C. 31(a), the Director and members of the U.S. Geological Survey are prohibited from having any personal or private interests in the lands or mineral wealth of the region under survey.

(2) Definitions. For purposes of applying the prohibition in 43 U.S.C. 31(a):

(i) Personal or private interest means ownership of an interest in, or employment with a person or enterprise which leases or uses, Federal lands for commercial purposes.

(ii) Region under survey means Federal lands which are administered or controlled by the Department.

(c) Exclusions. (1)(i) Except for U.S. mineral surveyors, an individual employed on an intermittent or seasonal basis for a period not exceeding 180 working days in each calendar year, and a special Government employee (SGE) engaged in field work relating to land, range, forest, and mineral conservation and management activities, and the spouse of such an individual or SGE, shall not be precluded from retaining any interest, including renewal or continuation of existing rights, in Federal lands, provided that such individual or SGE or spouse shall not acquire any additional interest in Federal lands during employment.

(ii) A U.S. mineral surveyor is a person appointed under the authority of 30 U.S.C. 39, and as such is included within the term “officers, clerks, and employees” of the Bureau of Land Management as that term is used in 43 U.S.C. 11 and construed in Waskey v. Hammer, 223 U.S. 85 (1912). U.S. mineral surveyors are also considered to be special government employees.

(2) A Bureau of Land Management employee or any member of the employee's family may acquire wild free-roaming horses or burros from Federal lands for maintenance and protection through a cooperative agreement entered into in accordance with 43 CFR part 4700.

(3) A Bureau of Land Management employee may retain a direct or indirect interest in Federal lands when:

(i) There is little or no relationship between the employee's functions or duties and the particular interest in Federal lands, and

(ii) The employee, or the spouse or dependent child of the employee, acquired such an interest:

(A) By gift, devise, bequest, or court award or settlement, or

(B) Prior to the time the employee entered on duty in the Department.

(4) Pursuant to 43 U.S.C. 1621(d), 43 U.S.C. 11 does not apply to any land grants or other rights granted under 43 U.S.C. chapter 33.

(5) The recreational or other personal and noncommercial use of the Federal lands by an employee, the employee's spouse or dependent child, on the same terms as use of the Federal lands is available to the general public, is not prohibited.

(6) Advisory councils. Nothing in 43 U.S.C. 11 shall disqualify individuals appointed pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, 43 U.S.C. 1739, as members of advisory boards or councils, from acquiring or retaining grazing licenses or permits issued pursuant to section 3 of the Taylor Grazing Act (43 U.S.C. 315b), or any other interest in land or resources administered by the Bureau of Land Management: Provided, that in no case shall the member of any such board or council participate in any advice or recommendation concerning such license or permit in which such member is directly or indirectly interested.

(d) Request for advice. When an employee is in doubt as to whether the acquisition or retention of any interest in lands or resources administered by the Department would violate the provisions of this section, a statement of the facts should be submitted promptly by the individual involved to his or her servicing ethics counselor for guidance.

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§20.402   Interests in underground or surface coal mining operations.

(a) Definitions. As used in this section:

(1) Direct financial interest in underground or surface coal mining operations means ownership or part ownership by an employee of lands, stocks, bonds, debentures, warrants, partnership shares, or other holdings and also means any other arrangement where the employee may benefit from his or her holding in or salary from coal mining operation. Direct financial interests also include employment, pensions, creditor, real property and other financial relationships.

(2) Indirect financial interest in underground or surface coal mining operations means the same financial relationships as for direct ownership, but where the employee reaps the benefits of such interests including interests held by his or her spouse, dependent child and other relatives, including in-laws, residing in the employee's home. The employee will not be deemed to have an indirect financial interest if there is no relationship between the employee's functions or duties and the coal mining operation in which the spouse, dependent child or other resident relative holds a financial interest.

(3) Coal mining operation means the business of developing, producing, preparing or loading bituminous coal, subbituminous coal, anthracite or lignite or of reclaiming the areas upon which such activities occur.

(4) Performing any function or duty under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 means those decisions or actions, which if performed or not performed by an employee, affect the programs under the Act.

(b) Prohibitions. (1) Neither the Director nor any other employee of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement or any other employee who performs functions or duties under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, 30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq., shall have a direct or indirect financial interest in underground or surface coal mining operations.

(2) The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, at 30 U.S.C. 1211(f), provides that anyone who knowingly violates the prohibitions in that Act shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than $2,500, or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

(c) Employees are encouraged to review regulations contained in 30 CFR part 706 which pertain to the prohibitions restated in this section.

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§20.403   Certificates of disclaimer.

(a) Each employee of the U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Land Management, Minerals Management Service, and Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement shall sign a certificate of disclaimer upon entrance to or upon transfer to a position within any of these bureaus. The employee's signature will indicate that he or she:

(1) Is aware of the specific restrictions pertinent to his or her employment; and

(2) Is in compliance with such restrictions.

(b) If an employee is unable to sign the certificate, he or she must submit a statement of facts to the appropriate ethics counselor for review and appropriate action.

(c) Signed certificates of disclaimer shall be filed and maintained by the employee's deputy ethics counselor.

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Subpart E—Other Employee Conduct Provisions

§20.501   General policy.

Employees of the Department are expected to maintain especially high standards of honesty, integrity, impartiality, and conduct to ensure the proper performance of Government business and the continual trust and confidence of citizens in their Government. Employees are expected to comply with all Federal statutes, Executive Orders, Office of Government Ethics and Office of Personnel Management regulations, and Departmental regulations. The conduct of employees should reflect the qualities of courtesy, consideration, loyalty to the United States, a deep sense of responsibility for the public trust, promptness in dealing with and serving the public, and a standard of personal behavior which will be a credit to the individual and the Department. These principles apply to official conduct and to private conduct which affects in any way the ability of the employee or the Department to effectively accomplish the work of the Department.

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§20.502   Conformance with policy and subordination to authority.

Employees are required to carry out the announced policies and programs of the Department and to obey proper requests and directions or supervisors. While policies related to one's work are under consideration employees may, and are expected to, express their professional opinions and points of view. Once a decision has been rendered by those in authority, each employee is expected to comply with the decision and work to ensure the success of programs or issues affected by the decision. An employee is subject to appropriate disciplinary action, including removal, if he or she fails to:

(a) Comply with any lawful regulations, orders, or policies; or

(b) Obey the proper requests of supervisors having responsibility for his or her performance.

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§20.503   Scope of authority.

Employes shall not engage in any conduct or activity which is in excess of his or her authority, or is otherwise contrary to any law or announced Departmental policy.

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§20.504   Selling or soliciting.

Employees and other persons are prohibited from selling or soliciting for personal gain within any building or on any lands occupied or used by the Department. Exception is granted for Department-authorized operations, including, but not limited to, the Interior Department Recreation Association, the Indian Arts and Crafts store, and for cafeteria, newsstand, snack bar and vending machine operations which are authorized by the Department of the benefit of employees or the public.

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§20.505   Habitual use of intoxicants.

An employee who habitually uses intoxicants to excess may be subject to removal (5 U.S.C. 7352).

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§20.506   Appropriations, legislation and lobbying.

(a) Unless expressly authorized by Congress, employees are prohibited from using any part of the money appropriated by any enactment of Congress to pay for any personal service, advertisement, telegram, telephone, letter, printed or written matter, or other device, intended or designed to influence in any manner a Member of Congress, to favor or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation or appropriation by Congress, whether before or after the introduction of any bill or resolution proposing such legislation or appropriation; this prohibition does not prevent any employee from communicating to Members of Congress on the request of any Member or through proper official channels, requests for legislation or appropriations which they deem necessary for the efficient conduct of the public business (18 U.S.C. 1913).

(b) When acting in their official capacity, employees are required to refrain from promoting or opposing legislation relating to programs of the Department without the official sanction of the property Departmental authority.

(c) The rights of employees, individually or collectively, to otherwise petition Congress, or to a Committee or Member thereof, shall not be interfered with or denied (5 U.S.C. 7211).

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§20.507   Unlawful organizations.

An employee may not advocate the violent overthrow of our constitutional form of government nor may an employee be a member of an organization that he or she knows advocates the violent overthrow of our constitutional form of government (5 U.S.C. 7311).

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§20.508   Notary.

An employee is prohibited from charging fees for performance of any notarial act for any employee of the Federal Government who is acting in his or her official capacity, or for any person during the hours of such notary's service to the Government (E.O. 977, Nov. 24, 1908).

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§20.509   Penalty mail and official stationery.

(a) An employee is prohibited from using any official envelope, label, or indorsement authorized by law, to avoid the payment of postage or registry fee on his or her private letter, packet, package, or other matter in the mail (18 U.S.C. 1719).

(b) Official Government envelopes and official letterhead stationery are Government property that may only be used for authorized purposes. Employees' use of Government envelopes to mail their own personal job applications is not authorized.

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§20.510   Fraud or false statements in a Government matter.

An employees shall not, in any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States, knowingly or willfully falsify, conceal or cover up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact, or make any false, fictitious, fraudulent statements or representations, or make or use any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or entry (18 U.S.C. 1001). Special attention is required in the certification of time and attendance reports, applications for employment, request for travel reimbursement, and purchase orders and receiving forms.

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§20.511   Carrying of firearms.

Employees, except those specifically designated to perform enforcement, police or other official duties requiring the use of firearms, are prohibited from carrying or having in their possession firearms on property under the control of the Secretary. Employees who are officially stationed in parks, refuges, Indian reservations, other Tribal lands or other wilderness areas which are known to be inhabited by wild animals, are permitted, when on those lands, to carry and use firearms for personal protection as permitted by existing policy or as authorized by the park, refuge or area supervisor. Notwithstanding this paragraph, employees who are not on official duty may carry firearms on Departmental lands under the same conditions and in accordance with procedures and authorizations established for members of the general public.

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§20.512   Labor practices.

Employees are prohibited from striking against the Government of the United States (5 U.S.C. 7311). Additional information regarding affiliation with employee organizations is found in the Department Manual, Part 370, Chapter 711, Labor Management Relations.

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Subpart F—Disciplinary and Remedial Actions

§20.601   General.

This subpart deals with disciplinary actions and remedial actions for violations, or potential violations, of conflict of interest laws or of the regulations in this part or in 5 CFR part 2635 or 5 CFR part 3501. Disciplinary action may include oral or written warning or admonishment, reprimand, suspension, reduction in grade or pay, removal from position or removal from office. Such action shall be taken in accordance with Departmental policies and procedures, applicable statutes, Executive Orders, regulations, and any applicable collective bargaining agreement provisions. Disciplinary action may be imposed independently from and without prior application of remedial actions, including those remedial actions listed in §20.602.

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§20.602   Remedial action.

(a)(1) Remedial action should normally be considered only after attempts to obtain voluntary resolution have failed. Voluntary resolution may include:

(i) Voluntary divestiture;

(ii) Voluntary conversion to securities which are not prohibited, or the holding of which would not violate law or regulation; or

(iii) Voluntary reassignment to another position.

(2) If the bureau Ethics Counselor decides that remedial action is required, such action shall be initiated within a reasonable time, usually 90 days.

(b) Remedial action may include:

(1) Reassignment or disqualification of the employee. It may be possible for the employee to be reassigned to another job, or to be disqualified from performing particular duties. Although the number of cases where this remedy can be used should be rare, the possibility should be explored before divestiture of an interest is ordered.

(2) Waiver. (i) The Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO) is authorized to make a written advance determination pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 208(b)(1) waiving the prohibitions of 18 U.S.C. 208(a) for any Department employee except the Secretary and those employees in the same organization as the DEAO, i.e., the Department's Office of Policy, Management and Budget. The Secretary or the Deputy Secretary shall issue individual waivers pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 208(b)(1) for employees in the Office of Policy, Management and Budget.

(ii) In the case of a special Government employee serving on an advisory committee within the meaning of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App. (including an individual being considered for an appointment to such a position), the DAEO, after review of the financial disclosure report filed by the individual pursuant to the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, 5 U.S.C. App., is authorized to certify in writing that the need for the individual's services outweighs the potential for a conflict of interest created by the financial interest involved.

(iii) The DAEO may grant a waiver under 5 CFR 3501.103(e) from the regulatory restrictions at 5 CFR 3501.103 (b) and (c).

(3) Divestiture of the interest. An employee may be required to divest an interest, including outside employment, that is prohibited by law or regulation. Divestiture of the interest shall be ordered in all situations where it is determined by the appropriate official that there is no other satisfactory remedy. Evidence of divestiture must be provided in the form of broker's sale receipt or other appropriate document.

Note to paragraph (b)(3): It may be possible in certain cases for the tax consequences of divestiture to be delayed, if the interest is sold pursuant to a certificate of divestiture issued before the sale by the Director, U.S. Office of Government Ethics. See 5 CFR part 2634, subpart J.

(c) Authority to order remedial action. (1) Each bureau Ethics Counselor is authorized to order remedial actions within his or her bureau. The advice of the appropriate Regional Solicitor, the Associate Solicitor—Division of General Law, or the Designated Agency Ethics Official or his or her designee may be sought before such an order is issued. This authority to order remedial action may not be redelegated.

(2) The Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy is authorized to order remedial actions for employees within the Office of the Secretary, except that the Secretary shall order remedial actions in situations involving the Deputy Secretary.

(d) An employee who fails to comply with an order for remedial action is considered to be in violation of this part and shall be subject to disciplinary action.

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§20.603   Appealing an order for remedial action.

(a) When and how to appeal. An employee has the right to appeal an order for remedial action under §20.602, and shall have 30 days from the date of the remedial action order to exercise this right before any disciplinary action may be initiated. For appeals of remedial orders issued under §20.602, the procedures described in 370 DM 771 may not be used in lieu of or in addition to those of this section. Each appeal shall be in writing and shall contain:

(1) The basis for appeal;

(2) Fact(s) supporting the basis; and

(3) The telephone number where appellant can be reached to discuss facts pertinent to the appeal.

(b) Where to appeal. (1) Orders for remedial action issued by an Ethics Counselor may be appealed to the Deputy Secretary, whose decision shall be final.

(2) Orders for remedial action issued by the Deputy Secretary may be appealed to the Secretary, whose decision shall be final.

(c) Review Board analysis and recommendations. (1)(i) Each appeal shall be considered by a Review Board consisting of:

(A) A program Assistant Secretary selected by the Designated Agency Ethics Official;

(B) The Associate Solicitor or the Deputy Associate Solicitor, Division of General law; and

(C) The Director or Deputy Director of the Departmental Office of Personnel within the Department.

(ii) Assistant Secretaries may delegate authority to serve on the Review Board to a Deputy Assistant Secretary who has not been involved, and who has not advised or made a decision on the issue or on the order for remedial action.

(2) The Deputy Agency Ethics Official or his or her assistant shall serve as secretary to the Review Board, except for cases in which he or she has previously participated. In such cases, the Review Board shall designate an employee who has not previously been involved with the case to serve as secretary.

(3) The Review Board members shall: (i) Obtain from the appropriate ethics counselor a full statement of actions and considerations which led to the order for remedial action including any supporting documentation or files used by the Ethics Counselor.

(ii) Obtain from the employee all facts, information, exhibits for documents which he or she feels should be considered before a final decision is made.

(iii) The secretary to the Review Board shall prepare a summary of the facts pertinent to the appeal. When appropriate, the Review Board may provide for personal appearance by the appellant before the Review Board if necessary to ascertain the circumstances concerning the appeal or may designate the Review Board secretary or another employee to conduct further fact finding, or may do both. Fact finding procedures shall be carried out by a person(s) who:

(A) Has not been involved in the matter being appealed; and

(B) Does not occupy a position subordinate to any official who recommended, advised, made a decision on, or who otherwise is or was involved in, the matter being appealed.

(iv) Establish a file containing all documents related to the appeal, which shall be available to the appellant and his or her representative.

(v) Provide to the official who will decide the appeal an advisory recommendation on the appeal. The views of dissenting members of the Review Board shall also be provided.

(d) Assurances to the appellant. Each appellant is assured of:

(1) Freedom from restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination or reprisal in presenting an appeal;

(2) A reasonable amount of official time to present the appeal if the employee is otherwise in a duty status;

(3) The right to obtain counseling from an ethics counselor of the Department; and

(4) The right to be accompanied, represented, and advised by a representative of his or her own choosing, except that the Review Board may disallow the choice of an individual as a representative if such representation would result in a conflict of interest or position, would conflict with the priority needs of the Department, or which would give rise to unreasonable costs to the Government.

(e) Assurances to the appellant's representative. Each person chosen to represent an appellant is assured of:

(1) Freedom from restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination or reprisal; and

(2) A reasonable amount of official time to present the appeal if the representative is an employee of the Department and is otherwise in a duty status.

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