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Institutional Services |News and Memos | Solicitations by External Companies

News and Memos

 TO:  All UAlbany Faculty and Staff
 FROM:  Office of Finance and Business
 DATE:  January 23, 2008
 SUBJECT:  Solicitations by External Companies

This message is being sent on behalf of University Counsel John H. Reilly and Associate Vice President for Human Resources Steve Beditz.


Over the course of the past few months, there have been reports of solicitations to selected individuals by external companies making offers of free gifts with selected purchases. Please be aware that such an offer by any individual or firm or the acceptance thereof by any University employee violates the provisions of the NYS Ethics Law.

Staff in the University Controller's Office have been in contact with any companies that have made such offers. However, we would be remiss if we did not take this opportunity to remind all of us of our ethical obligations as employees of a state agency.

Specifically, The Ethics in Government Act was signed into law to restore the public's trust in government through the prevention of corruption, favoritism, undue influence and abuse of position. The law was established to prevent conflicts of interest and to encourage ethical behavior.

Public Officers Law (POL) §§ 73(5) and 74 are specific to the subject of the above-mentioned email as it relates to the acceptance of gifts and/or the appearance of impropriety or fairness. Essentially, POL §73(5) states one shall directly or indirectly, solicit, accept or receive any gift having more than a nominal value whether in the form of money, service, entertainment...or in any other form, under circumstances in which it could reasonably be inferred that the gift was intended to influence, or could reasonably be expected to influence in the performance of your official duties.

In other words, no one should accept any gift, service, meal, entertainment or other item with more than a nominal value from any company, individual or firm who currently does business or is soliciting business from the University at Albany. Nominal value is in general defined as items such as a pen or a notepad - - anything with a value above that cannot be accepted. The Research Foundation of SUNY recently adopted the same ban for its employees.

The Governor's Office of Employee Relations has a very informative, easy to navigate, on-line modular training program about ethics and how it pertains to us as employees at a state agency. Please feel free to visit the site and complete the training program. You may access it at http:// Additionally, you may wish to visit the NYS Ethics Commission webpage at