January 31, 2014
by Walter M. Shaub, Jr.
The head of each executive branch agency is required to appoint a Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO) to lead the agency’s ethics program. A DAEO’s duties include collecting and reviewing employees’ financial disclosures, maintaining an ethics training program, counseling agency employees on ethics and standards of conduct issues, and communicating with the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) about the agency’s ethics program.
Keeping the lines of communication open between DAEOs and OGE is a critical part of our daily work. To that end, I have committed to holding quarterly meetings with the DAEO community to share information, discuss emerging issues, and announce new initiatives. On Wednesday, January 29, I held the first DAEO meeting of 2014.
A highlight of the meeting was a discussion led by Jonathan McBride, Director of the Office of Presidential Personnel, about Presidential nominations. Mr. McBride and the DAEOs discussed their review of nominees’ financial disclosures, as well as measures designed to resolve potential conflicts of interest prior to nomination. This meeting also gave OGE a chance to present its new strategic plan to the DAEOs, to update the community on the status of OGE’s electronic financial disclosure filing system, and to discuss agencies’ practices related to the collection of periodic transaction reports. OGE’s staff also shared some details about OGE’s plan to host an ethics summit, in the tradition of OGE’s National Government Ethics Conferences, this coming September. The meeting was productive and served as a great opportunity for OGE, and for me, to connect with our key agency stakeholders.