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December 6, 2010

Agenda and Notes -- DEC/EC Meeting

Monday December 6, 2010 -- 11:00 – 12:00 noon -- Bldg. 31, C Wing, Conference Room 10

Items for Discussion/Presentations:

1. Clarification regarding Gift Exchanges (PowerPoint slides attached; handout pdf format; see revised slides 22-25)

2. OGE-450 Filing Criteria: look to the function more than the position, e.g., holds a warrant (ability to make purchases over $3,000). Kevette will send a list of current warrant holders.

  • Review filer’s list to assure that all those who fit the 450 filer criteria are listed as a filer. Remove those who no longer fit the criteria.
  • All staff who supervise a 450 filer must also file a 450 report even if they do not directly perform a 450 function.
  • Assure all 450 filers are coded as such in NEES.

3. Incorporating Authorizations into an Official Duty Memo: (for more information, contact your NEO specialist)

  • Be sure to specify the basis for the covered relationship, e.g., previous employment, in the ODA/authorization memo.
  • Create 2 separate EMIS entries, one each for the official duty activity and the authorization.
  • Sample 502 authorization language from an Ethics Agreement:

    You served and received an honorarium from the following journal for the position noted within the past year: GI section editor, Annual Reviews of Physiology (term ended 5/10/10)

    You understand that pursuant to the impartiality standard, 5 C.F.R. § 2635.502, you must recuse from participating in specific party matters in which this organization is a party for one year from the date of the last payment received or your resignation from the position, whichever is later, unless an authorization is granted to allow your participation. While serving in this position, however, you had solicited four manuscripts and expect these manuscripts to be submitted by July 1st, 2011. You wish to complete this outstanding obligation in your official capacity..

    We have agreed to authorize you to engage in this activity as part of your official duties. In granting this authorization, we considered, in particular, the nature of your relationship with Annual Reviews of Physiology as well as the relative sensitivity of any matters involving this journal that may come before you as Director of [IC office]. Furthermore, editing manuscripts for a scientific journal is a routine professional activity for scientists, will keep you abreast of recent developments in your field of expertise, and poses little risk of a creating a conflict with your expected official NIH duties.

    You understand that you may not receive any fees or honorarium for this service.

4. Committee Management Packages

  • Re-read previously prepared recusal list and confirm that listed financial interests and covered relationships would likely be affected by Committee’s work. Often, an employee’s financial interests (General Motors stock, for example) and covered relationships (Journal editor, for example) are not in conflict with Committee’s deliberations.
  • Note: other than in a few exceptional circumstances, positions with peer-reviewed Journals do not create conflicts (though may be reportable positions on the 450) and spousal employment is typically a covered relationship rather than a financial interest. If an interest was incorrectly reported as a financial interest a waiver was issued, contact Gretchen.
  • Contact Committee Management if a member overreports interests (diversified mutual funds, for example) on original or 450 updates.

5. Case Study: What, if any, approval is needed for an employee to create an app for a smart phone?

  • Activity should be discussed with supervisor to determine if the activity should be done officially or may be pursued as an outside activity
  • The employee should file a 520; need determination whether activity would fall under teaching, speaking and writing that relates to an employee’s duties..
  • OGC confirmed that no new invention report needs to be filed..


1. Award Form is active in NEES. Familiarize yourself with the form by going into NEESLab: (use NIH username and password TrainMe)

2. Use the new WAG form (dated 08/09) and do not accept the previous version.

3. NEO Staff Changes

  • LaTonya to FDA
  • Chris to NINDS
  • Kai to NIBIB

4. Annual Ethics Training Completion Date: December 3, 2010. ICs should report to Genia those employees who have not taken the training; the reason for the non-compliance; and expected completion date.

5. CY ’09 OGE-278s (filed May ’10) should be certified by December 17, 2010. Need help? Call Elton or Linda in NEO. Send original certified OGE-278s to NEO by December 31, 2010, Elton’s attention.

6. 2010 Annual Ethics Questionnaire will be released this week and is due January 14, 2011. More info to follow.



From: Weaver, Gretchen (NIH/OD) [E]
Sent: Tuesday, December 07, 2010 10:30 AM
To: DECs & ECs
Subject: DEC meeting follow up

I had two follow up items on my list from yesterday:

  • The 2010 Holiday Gift Guidance is coming, but will be substantially the same as the 2009 guidance.
  • Per our intellectual property guru, Dale Berkley, smart phone apps are not inventions. Copyrights might apply, but the requirement for employee invention reports does not. Accordingly, employees need only supervisory and ethics approval to develop an app as an outside, self-employed activity. The question, therefore, is whether the activity is really or should be an official duty activity.

Let me know if you have any questions.Thanks,

Gretchen H. Weaver, J.D.
Senior NIH Ethics Counsel
DHHS/OGC/Ethics Division
Bldg. 31, Rm. 2B47
phone: (301) 594-8166<
fax: (301) 402-2528

Notes Posted 12/7/10