WELS Conflict of Interest Policy

1 Policy
2 Relationships
3 Gifts
4 Name
  • Conflict of Interest Policy
    This conflict of interest policy is designed to help directors, officers, and employees of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) identify situations that present potential conflicts of interest and to provide WELS with a procedure that, if observed, will allow a transaction to be treated as valid and binding even though a director, officer, or employee has or may have a conflict of interest with respect to the transaction. In the event there is an inconsistency between the requirements and procedures prescribed herein and those in federal or state law, the law shall control. All capitalized terms are defined in Part 2 of this policy.

    1. Conflict of Interest Defined.
    For purposes of this policy, the following circumstances shall be deemed to create Conflicts of Interest:
    A. Outside Interests.
    (i) A Contract or Transaction between WELS and a Responsible Person or Family Member.
    (ii) A Contract or Transaction between WELS and an entity in which a Responsible Person or Family Member has a Material Financial Interest or of which such person is a director, officer, agent, partner, associate, trustee, personal representative, receiver, guardian, custodian, conservator, or other legal representative.
    B. Outside Activities.
    (i) A Responsible Person competing with WELS in the rendering of services or in any other Contract or Transaction with a third party.
    (ii) A Responsible Person's having a Material Financial Interest in; or serving as a director, officer, employee, agent, partner, associate, trustee, personal representative, receiver, guardian, custodian, conservator, or other legal representative of, or consultant to; an entity or individual that competes with WELS in the provision of services or in any other Contract or Transaction with a third party.
    C. Gifts, Gratuities and Entertainment. A Responsible Person accepting gifts, entertainment, or other favors from any individual or entity that:
    (i) does or is seeking to do business with, or is a competitor of WELS; or
    (ii) has received, is receiving, or is seeking to receive a loan or grant, or to secure other financial commitments from WELS;
    (iii) is a charitable organization;
    under circumstances where it might be inferred that such action was intended to influence or possibly would influence the Responsible Person in the performance of his or her duties. This does not preclude the acceptance of items of nominal or insignificant value or entertainment of nominal or insignificant value that are not related to any particular transaction or activity of WELS.
    2. Definitions.
    A. A Conflict of Interest is any circumstance described in Part 1 of this Policy.
    B. A Responsible Person is any person serving as an officer, called and lay employees in positions of influence, or member of the Board of Directors of WELS, its schools or subsidiaries.
    C. Board of Director includes commissions and committees.
    D. A Family Member is a spouse, parent, child, or spouse of a child, brother, sister, or spouse of a brother or sister, of a Responsible Person.
    E. Material Financial Interest in an entity is a financial interest of any kind that, in view of all the circumstances, is substantial enough that it would, or reasonably could, affect a Responsible Person’s or Family Member’s judgment with respect to transactions to which the entity is a party. This includes all forms of compensation.
    F. A Contract or Transaction is any agreement or relationship involving the sale or purchase of goods, services, or rights of any kind, the providing or receipt of a loan or grant, the establishment of any other type of pecuniary relationship, or review of a charitable organization by WELS. The making of a gift to WELS is not a Contract or Transaction.
    3. Procedures.
    A. Before board or committee action on a Contract or Transaction involving a Conflict of Interest, a director or committee member having a Conflict of Interest and who is in attendance at the meeting shall disclose all facts material to the Conflict of Interest. Such disclosure shall be reflected in the minutes of the meeting.
    B. A director or committee member who plans not to attend a meeting at which he or she has reason to believe that the board, commission or committee will act on a matter in which the person has a Conflict of Interest shall disclose to the chair of the meeting all facts material to the Conflict of Interest. The chair shall report the disclosure at the meeting and the disclosure shall be reflected in the minutes of the meeting.
    C. A person who has a Conflict of Interest shall not participate in or be permitted to hear the board’s, commission’s or committee’s discussion of the matter except to disclose material facts and to respond to questions. Such person shall not attempt to exert his or her personal influence with respect to the matter, either at or outside the meeting.
    D. A person who has a Conflict of Interest with respect to a Contract or Transaction that will be voted on at a meeting shall not be counted in determining the presence of a quorum for purposes of the vote. The person having a conflict of interest may not vote on the Contract or Transaction and shall not be present in the meeting room when the vote is taken, unless the vote is by secret ballot. Such person’s ineligibility to vote shall be reflected in the minutes of the meeting. For purposes of this paragraph, a member of the Board of Directors of WELS has a Conflict of Interest when he stands for election as an officer or for re-election as a member of the Board of Directors.
    E. Responsible Persons who are not members of the Board of Directors of WELS, or who have a Conflict of Interest with respect to a Contract or Transaction that is not the subject of board, commission or committee action, shall disclose to the Chair or the Chair’s designee any Conflict of Interest that such Responsible Person has with respect to a Contract or Transaction. Such disclosure shall be made as soon as the Conflict of Interest is known to the Responsible Person. The Responsible Person shall refrain from any action that may affect WELS’s participation in such Contract or Transaction.
    In the event it is not entirely clear that a Conflict of Interest exists, the individual with the potential conflict shall disclose the circumstances to the Chair or the Chair’s designee, who shall determine whether there exists a Conflict of Interest that is subject to this policy.
    4. Confidentiality.
    Each Responsible Person shall exercise care not to disclose confidential information acquired in connection with such status or information the disclosure of which might be adverse to the interests of WELS. Furthermore, a Responsible Person shall not disclose or use information relating to the business of WELS for the personal profit or advantage of the Responsible Person or a Family Member.

    5. Review of Policy.
    A. Each new Responsible Person shall be required to review a copy of this Policy and to acknowledge in writing that they have done so and agree to comply with the Policy.
    B. Each Responsible Person shall annually complete a disclosure form identifying any relationships, positions, or circumstances in which the Responsible Person is involved that he or she believes could contribute to a Conflict of Interest arising. Such relationships, positions, or circumstances might include service as a director of or consultant to a not-for-profit organization, or ownership of a business that might provide goods or services to WELS. Any such information regarding business interests of a Responsible Person or a Family Member shall be treated as confidential and shall generally be made available only to the Chair, the synod president, and any committee appointed to address Conflicts of Interest, except to the extent additional disclosure is necessary in connection with the implementation of this Policy.
    C. This policy shall be reviewed at least annually by the Synodical Council. Any changes to the policy shall be communicated immediately.
    D. Each Responsible Person shall annually complete a disclosure form identifying any gifts, gratuities, and entertainment or other favors that individually or collectively (from the same individual or entity) exceed $100.00 that they or a Family Member received from any individual or entity that:
    (i) does or is seeking to do business with, or is a competitor of WELS; or
    (ii) has received, is receiving, or is seeking to receive a loan or grant, or to secure other financial commitments from WELS;
    (iii) is a charitable organization;
    6. Violations of the Conflict of Interest Policy
    A. If the governing board, commission or committee has reasonable cause to believe a member has failed to disclose an actual or possible conflict of interest, it shall inform the member of the basis for such belief and afford the member an opportunity to explain the alleged failure to disclose.
    B. If, after hearing the member’s response and after making further investigation as warranted by the circumstances, the governing board, commission or committee determines the member has failed to disclose an actual or possible conflict of interest, it shall take appropriate disciplinary or corrective action.
    C. The violation of this conflict of interest policy is serious and may constitute ‘cause’ for removal or termination of the Responsible Person, or termination of any contractual relationship WELS may have with a Responsible Person or other party.

WELS Human Resources: dennis.maurer@wels.net or 414-256–3268 | Privacy policy
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