Questions and suggestions from the staff to management
may be submitted in confidence to the Delphi Coordinator.
They should be submitted in written form, preferably via
interoffice mail in a sealed envelope marked confidential.
They must be signed. Detailed procedures for submitting
questions are given in the UCAR Policies and Procedures
Manual, section 4-1-2, and on the Delphi
Web site. Staff Notes Monthly publishes questions
and answers of general interest to staff, and the Delphi
Web site has a log of all questions submitted since 1995.
Conflicts of interest, flag at FL
Delphi Question #583 (received January 30): A friend of mine is a free-lance writer in another state. She has asked me if I would be able to write magazine articles on atmospheric science topics and accept pay for the articles. It occurred to me that this might be considered a conflict of interest. I read the UCAR policy and it is not clear to me if this would be a conflict of interest or not. I do not plan to use NCAR resources for this but, obviously, knowledge obtained at NCAR would be used. I would do 100% of the work on my own time.
Response (received January 31): Thanks for asking this important question. It is possible to write magazine articles and accept pay for the effort under certain conditions, summarized below.
All employees need to be aware of potential conflicts of interest. Conflicts of interest, or the appearance of such, may compromise UCAR’s integrity, its standing with its sponsors, and its status as a tax-exempt organization. They must, therefore, be scrupulously avoided.
UCAR has two policies that pertain to your question. One is on conflict of interest and the other deals with outside employment.
The Outside Employment Policy applies since you are being paid for the work. You would need to have the outside employment approved if it takes place during periods when you would normally be expected to be available to UCAR, uses expertise derived from UCAR work, may appear to be a conflict of interest, or is within the scope of UCAR’s work. In all cases employees engaged in outside employment may not use UCAR facilities, resources, property, telephones, equipment, or staff in support of such activities, nor may those activities be conducted on UCAR premises.
Without knowing all of the facts involved, it is difficult to answer your question. Overall, if you use general knowledge, you are probably okay; but, on the other hand, if it involves details of something that is proprietary to NCAR or may be patented, there could be a conflict of interest.
The appropriate action is to discuss this with your supervisor and, if necessary, have this activity approved in advance and in writing by your laboratory director. That way you will be in full compliance with both policies.
Director, Human Resources
Delphi Question #584 (received February 7): I have been noticing the tattered appearance of the American flag at Foothills Lab. When is a decision made to replace the flag once it is worn?
Response (received February 8): Flags are replaced when they become visibly deteriorated. The flag you mention is being replaced almost as this response is being written. The flag in question somehow slipped through our normal inspection process. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Director, Safety and Site Services