Ethics In Public Service Act

The Ethics In Public Service Act, Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Chapter 42.52, provides that all State officers and employees have a duty to ensure proper stewardship of state resources, including funds, facilities, tools, equipment, vehicles, consumable resources, computers and other electronic devices, property, employees and their time. Accordingly, the Ethics in Public Service Act states that resources under your official control may not be used for the private benefit or gain of a state officer, state employee, or another person. The Ethics in Public Service law applies to all state officers and state employees, including those at state universities such as Western Washington University (WWU). Responsibility for ethical compliance rests with the individual state employee or the supervisor who allows employee action or inaction.

University Ethics Officer

The Office of the Internal Auditor is the Ethics Advisor for the University. University employees may contact the Office of the Internal Auditor with ethics related questions or to disclose assertions of ethical violations.

Interim University Ethics Officer
Paul Mueller, CPCU
Director, Risk, Compliance, and Policy Services
Old Main 330I
(360) 650-3065

Reporting Potential Ethics Violations

Our Improper Governmental Action web page discusses two methods for reporting potential ethical violations.

You can also contact the Washington State Executive Ethics Board.

Potential Penalties for Ethics Violations

The Washington State Executive Ethics Board has broad authorities for interpreting and enforcing the State’s ethics law including imposing sanctions for violations of the ethics law. Sanctions can include: a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 per violation or three times the economic value of any thing sought or received in violation of the ethics law; restitution; and recovery of investigative costs.

The University may also impose personnel actions for violations of the ethics law up to, and including, termination of employment.

Ethics Guide

Western's Ethics Guide summarizes the substantive rules and restrictions as defined by the Ethics in Public Service Act (RCW 42.52) and the related Use of State Resources WAC (292-110-010). This easy to read resource is meant to help members of our University community understand their responsibilities, identify and manage potential conflicts of interest, and provide examples to clarify legislative guidance and University policy.

Ethics Guide Online

Ethics Links

Western’s Using University Resources Policy (POL-U1500.08)

Food and Beverages Provided By Persons or Organizations Outside of the University

Western Washington University’s Honorarium Form

Washington State Executive Ethics Board Web Site

Washington State Executive Ethics Boards Frequently Asked Questions

Washington RCW 42.52 – Ethics In Public Service Act

Washington WAC 292-110-010 – Use of Resources