WSR 15-12-095
[Filed June 2, 2015, 11:00 a.m.]
Original Notice.
Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 14-03-074.
Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: WAC 292-110-010 Use of state resources.
Hearing Location(s): 2425 Bristol Court S.W., 4th Floor Conference Room, Olympia, WA, on July 17, 2015, at 9:00 a.m.
Date of Intended Adoption: July 20, 2015.
Submit Written Comments to: Kate Reynolds, P.O. Box 40149, Olympia, WA 98504-0149, e-mail, fax (360) 586-3955, by July 15, 2015.
Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Ruthann Bryant by July 15, 2015, (360) 586-3265.
Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: To review the permitted uses of state resources as well as update and clarify the rule.
Reasons Supporting Proposal: The board receives many questions regarding the use of state resources. By amending the rule, agency employees will gain a better understanding of the rules and regulations of the Ethics in Public Service Act.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 42.52.160, 42.52.360.
Statute Being Implemented: RCW 42.52.160.
Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.
Name of Proponent: Executive ethics board, governmental.
Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation, and Enforcement: Kate Reynolds, Olympia, (360) 586-6759.
No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. The state employees and state-wide elected officials that must comply with the proposed rule are not small businesses, pursuant to chapter 19.85 RCW.
A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328.
June 2, 2015
Ruthann Bryant
Administrative Officer
AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 09-16-046, filed 7/28/09, effective 8/28/09)
WAC 292-110-010 Use of state resources.
(1) Statement of principles ((- stewardship. The proper stewardship of state resources, including funds, facilities, tools, property, and employees and their time, is a responsibility that all state officers and employees share. Accordingly, state employees may not use state resources for personal benefit or gain or for the benefit or gain of other individuals or outside organizations. Responsibility and accountability for the appropriate use of state resources ultimately rests with the individual state officer or state employee, or with the state officer or state employee who authorizes such use. State officers and employees should ensure that any personal use of state resources permitted by this section is the most efficient in terms of overall time and resources.
(2) The following are permitted uses:
(a) Use of state resources that is reasonably related to the conduct of official state duties, or which is otherwise allowed by statute)). All state employees and officers are responsible for the proper use of state resources, including funds, facilities, tools, property, and their time. This section does not restrict the use of state resources as described in subsections (2) and (3) of this section.
(2) Permitted uses.
(a) Use of state resources for official state purpose. "Official state purpose" includes use of state resources to conduct official duties, activities reasonably related to the conduct of official state duties, activities related to state employment, and activities otherwise allowed by statute. Examples of official state purposes include:
(i) Training and career development approved by the employing agency under RCW 41.06.410;
(ii) Membership or participation in professional associations that enhance job-related skills of the state officer or employee, so long as the use of state resources for this purpose has been authorized in writing;
(iii) State or agency sponsored health, safety, or diversity fairs;
(iv) Management of or access to state-provided or state-sponsored benefits, including health, deferred compensation, insurance, retirement, and the employee assistance program;
(v) Searching and applying for state jobs, including taking an examination or participating in an interview; and
(vi) Placement of nongovernmental web page links on an agency web site for official state purposes as long as the use does not violate RCW 42.52.180.
(b) Agency approved use. An agency head or designee may authorize ((a use of state resources that is related to an official state purpose, but not directly related to an individual employee's official duty.
(c) An agency may authorize a specific use that promotes organizational effectiveness or enhances the job-related skills of a state officer or state employee.
(d))) limited use of agency staff time and resources for the following uses as long as that use is specifically authorized in an agency policy and conforms to that policy:
(i) Supporting, promoting, or soliciting for charitable activities;
(ii) Employee recognition, including birthday, retirement, wedding/baby showers, or other similar celebrations;
(iii) Activities supporting agency organizational effectiveness provided the specific policy is approved by the executive ethics board.
(3) Permitted personal use of state resources. This subsection applies to any use of state resources not included in subsection (2) of this section.
(a) A state officer or employee may make ((an occasional but limited personal)) de minimis use of state resources only if each of the following conditions are met:
(i) There is little or no cost to the state;
(ii) Any use is brief;
(iii) Any use occurs infrequently;
(iv) The use does not interfere with the performance of any state officer's or employee's official duties; ((and))
(v) The use does not compromise the security or integrity of state property, information systems, or software((.
(3) Permitted use of computers, electronic mail, the internet, and other technologies. A state officer or employee may use equipment such as the telephone, the internet, and electronic mail provided such use conforms to ethical standards under subsection (2) of this section, and the use is not otherwise prohibited under subsection (5) of this section));
(vi) The use is not for the purpose of conducting an outside business, in furtherance of private employment, or to realize a private financial gain; and
(vii) The use is not for supporting, promoting the interests of, or soliciting for an outside organization or group.
(b) A state officer or employee may use state resources for wellness or combined fund drive activities as long as use conforms with (a) of this subsection or as authorized in state law and rule.
(4) No expectation of privacy. Technologies such as electronic mail, facsimile transmissions, the internet, and voice mail may create an electronic record. This is what separates these from other forms of communication such as a telephone conversation. The ethics rules do not distinguish between the various forms of communication. Electronic records are reproducible and therefore cannot be considered private. Such records may be subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act, or may be disclosed for audit or legitimate state operational or management purposes.
(5) ((Prohibited uses.
(a) Any use for the purpose of conducting an outside business, private employment, or other activities conducted for private financial gain;
(b) Any use for the purpose of supporting, promoting the interests of, or soliciting for an outside organization or group, including, but not limited to, a private business, or a political party, or supporting, promoting the interests of, or soliciting for a nonprofit organization unless provided for by law or authorized by an agency head or designee;
(c) Any use for the purpose of assisting a campaign for election of a person to an office or for the promotion of or opposition to a ballot proposition. Such a use of state resources is specifically prohibited by RCW 42.52.180, subject to the exceptions in RCW 42.52.180(2);
(d) Any use for the purpose of participating in or assisting in an effort to lobby the state legislature, or a state agency head. Such a use of state resources is specifically prohibited by RCW 42.17.190, subject to the exceptions in RCW 42.17.190(3);
(e) Any use related to conduct that is prohibited by a federal or state law or rule, or a state agency policy; and
(f) Any private use of any state property that has been removed from state facilities or other official duty stations, even if there is no cost to the state.
(6) Reimbursement for personal use. Establishing a system for reimbursement for private or personal use of state resources undermines the purpose of the Ethics in Public Service Act and imposes significant administrative burdens on state agencies. However, the board recognizes that)) Reimbursement for personal use. In some limited situations, such as officers or employees working at remote locations, ((a system of reimbursement may be appropriate. Any system of reimbursement must be established by the agency in advance, and must result in little or no cost to the state, including administrative costs. To be permitted under this section, the board must approve any reimbursement system implemented by an agency)) an agency may allow reimbursement for limited personal use of state resources by the state employee or officer.
(((7))) (6) Agency policies ((encouraged. State agencies are encouraged to adopt policies applying these principles to their unique circumstances)). Agency policies that are approved by the board qualify for "safe harbor" under WAC 292-120-035. Nothing in this section is intended to limit the ability of an agency to adopt policies that are more restrictive. However, violation of a more restrictive agency policy by itself will not constitute a violation of RCW 42.52.160, even if it would constitute a violation of agency policy.
(((8))) (7) Advisory opinions and frequently asked questions ((and examples)). The executive ethics board ((maintains a list of frequently asked questions and examples that provide additional guidance regarding this section. State officers and employees are encouraged to review this document at the board's web site or to request a copy of the document through the board's office.
Washington State Executive Ethics Board
P.O. Box 40149
Olympia, WA 98504-0149
Or by electronic mail at: publishes advisory opinions interpreting the Ethics in Public Service Act and/or its rules and provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding the use of state resources that can be found at