Ethics

Ethics

The Department’s Anti-Fraud and Code of Ethics (Code) is the written document that supports the culture of ethical and efficient service to the citizens of the State provided by the Department. The Code describes the behavior expected of employees that perform these services. 

Employees must comply with all applicable laws and regulations. The Department will not condone employee conduct that either violates, or has the appearance of violating the law, including the ethical provisions. This includes receiving payments for illegal acts, indirect contributions, rebates or bribery.

These standards of ethical conduct provide for the following:

Employees must avoid any conflicts of interest.

A conflict of interest exists when an employee is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity. Employees must not use their position or knowledge gained from their position for private or personal advantage. Arkansas Code Annotated (ACA) §21-8-304 lists certain activities that are ethically prohibited activities for state employees and officials. 

Candidates for employment or promotion/transfer to positions with decision-making authority agree to avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest and to fully disclose potential or actual conflicts of interest. The following specific requirements apply:
  • The employee or candidate must agree to disclose any potential or actual conflict of interest on the Conflicts of Interest Disclosure Form 19-564.
  • The employee or candidate must certify or affirm that any potential conflict disclosed is not an actual conflict.
  • The employee must acknowledge that his or her position (or the position to which a candidate is applying) includes a role of fiscal responsibility, and must certify that no conflict of interest will be allowed to interfere with his or her performance of those responsibilities. 
  • This is a continuing obligation, and the employee must agree to disclose any conflict of interest, whether potential or actual, to the Chief Auditor in writing immediately.
  • The obligation to report a potential or actual conflict of interest arises as soon as the employee or candidate becomes aware of the conflict.
  • The employee or candidate must agree not to be involved directly or indirectly within the scope of employment in any matter or contract in which he or she has a personal financial interest, or in which an immediate family member has a financial interest.  If such involvement is integral to the fulfillment of the duties of the position, the employee may be terminated or transferred to a different position.
  • An employee who is required to take an action in the discharge of his or her official duties that may affect his or her financial interest (or that of an immediate family member) or cause financial benefit or detriment to him or her (or an immediate family member), or a business in which he or she is an officer, director, stockholder, owner, trustee, partner, or employee, must immediately report any such conflict to the Chief Auditor in writing.
  • The employee or candidate must agree, pursuant to A.C.A § 21-8-304, not to use his or her position or knowledge gained from their position for private or personal advantage.
  • The employee or candidate must acknowledge that failing to disclose any actual conflict of interest is grounds for immediate dismissal from employment.

Employees must adhere to ACA §19-11-705 in their relationships with clients and suppliers to avoid any conflict of interest. In addition, any employee who has or obtains any benefit from a state contract with a business in which the employee has a financial interest shall notify the Chief Auditor in writing.

Employees must not accept entertainment, gifts, personal favors or preferential treatment that could influence, or appear to influence, their decisions in performing their job functions. Specific procurement law addressing gratuities is codified in ACA §19-11-707.

Employees of the Arkansas Department of Transportation shall not solicit or attempt to solicit gifts, entertainment, favors, or preferential treatment from any Department vendor, supplier, contractor, or any entity or individual which has, or could have, a business relationship with the Department.  Employees shall not, directly or indirectly use, disclose, or allow the use of official information which was obtained in connection with his or her employment for personal gain or the benefit of others.

Employees must not receive kickbacks, prohibited commissions or other prohibited payments from third parties. Violations of this rule will result in imposition of the penalties provided by law.  Specific procurement law addressing kickbacks and commissions is codified in ACA §19-11-707 and §19-11-708.

Employees who have access to Department funds in any form must follow the prescribed procedures for recording, handling, and protecting money as detailed in the Department Accounting Manual, DFA’s Financial Management Guide and/or other explanatory materials. If an employee has knowledge of fraud or waste of public assets, the employee should immediately advise his or her immediate supervisor, Division Head or District Engineer, or the Chief Auditor.

Personal use of Department funds or assets is strictly forbidden.

The Department’s books and records must reflect accurate and timely recording of all business transactions. Full disclosure of assets, liabilities, receipts and disbursements must be made.  Employees must not make or engage in any false record or communication whether internal or external, including but not limited to:
  • False expense, attendance, production, financial, or similar reports and statements
  • False advertising, deceptive marketing practices, or other misleading representations
  • Employees must not use their position or affiliation with the Department when communicating regarding matters not involving Department business. Employees must not use organization identification, stationery, supplies and equipment for personal or political matters.
  • When communicating publicly on matters that involve Department business, employees must not speak for the Department on any topic, unless they are certain the views they express are those of management, and it is management’s desire that such views be expressed publicly. 
  • When dealing with anyone outside the Department, including public officials, employees must take care not to compromise the integrity or damage the reputation of the Department or any other entity.
  • Employees shall respond promptly and accurately to all requests for information and complaints regardless of the source.
When handling financial and personal information about customers or others with whom the Department has dealings, observe the following principles:
  • Collect, use, and retain only the personal information necessary for Department business. Whenever possible, obtain any relevant information directly from the person concerned. Use only reputable and reliable sources to supplement this information.
  • Retain information only for as long as necessary or as required by law. Protect the physical security of this information.
  • Limit internal access to personal information to those with a legitimate business reason to have the information. Use personal information only for the legitimate business purpose for which it was obtained. Release of any information to persons not involved with the stated business purpose should be made by management in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.  Any tax information that is confidential pursuant to ACA § 26-18-303 should not be disclosed, except as allowed by law.
Employees have a responsibility to report occurrences of ethical violations, fraud, waste or abuse of Department resources. In accordance with the Arkansas Whistle-Blower Act (ACA § 21-1-601 et seq), employees shall be protected against any form of retaliation, including discharge, for reporting in good faith:
  • occurrences of ethical violations;
  • waste of public funds, property, or manpower;
  • violations or suspected violations of a law, rule or regulation adopted under the law, or
  • a loss of public funds under ACA § 25-1-124.

Allegations of ethical violations or fraud may be reported to the Chief Auditor by e-mail (leslie.coddington@ardot.gov) or telephone (501-569-2564). See Internal Audit for information on reporting ethical violations, fraud, waste or abuse.