Ethical Principles

Ethical Principles for South Carolina

State Government Service

Serving the public as an employee of South Carolina state government requires an appreciation for and dedication to the basic principles of integrity, honesty, respect for others, fairness, and accountability. These principles are fundamental in providing good government and advancing the public interest and are central to and implicit in any personal, professional, or agency code of ethical conduct.

Because protecting the public trust and strengthening public confidence in government requires the highest standards of personal and professional conduct, state employees have an obligation to apply these ethical principles in their individual job duties and responsibilities.


State employees should adhere to a personal code of conduct which supports the moral values necessary for good government and advances the purpose and mission of the State, their profession, and their agency.


State employees should be truthful and sincere in all their interactions with the public and with each other. They should avoid even the appearance of wrongdoing and should confront and challenge unethical behavior.

Respect for Others

State employees should discharge their duties with care, compassion, and concern for the well-being of all those they serve. They should recognize the inherent worth and dignity of all persons regardless of race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, handicapping conditions, social or economic status.


State employees should make decisions in a fair, objective, and impartial manner.


State employees should take responsibility for their own actions and personal decisions and protect the public trust by upholding the constitutions and laws of the United States of America and the State of South Carolina.


College of Charleston Procurement Code of Conduct

This Procurement Code of Conduct is for the College of Charleston’s internal use only and creates no obligations enforceable by contractors, proposers, bidders, or other party doing business or seeking to do business with the college. Nothing contained herein is intended to convey or vest any legal right in a party to enforce a term or condition of this procurement code of conduct or to seek any remedy for a violation of any such term or condition.


1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this Procurement Code of Conduct is to set forth standards of conduct for procurement officers, purchasing agents and employees of the College of Charleston ("College") participating in the procurement system in order to avoid actual or apparent conflicts of interest between their public procurement-related duties and their private Economic Interests. It is the policy of the College that the procurement officers within the Procurement Department and all employees of the College that have procurement authority maintain the highest ethical standard consistent with professional public procurement responsibilities and best practices and that each maintain a zero tolerance for unethical behavior. In this manner the College intends to promote the public interest and strengthen the faith and confidence of the people of South Carolina in the integrity of their government.


2.0 Relationship With Laws And Other College Policies

This  Procurement Code of Conduct is in addition to, and does not intend to limit or change the application of, the South Carolina Ethics, Government Accountability, and Campaign Reform Act of 1991 (Code of Laws of South Carolina, Title 8, Chapter 13, including but not limited to, the South Carolina Rules of Conduct, S.C. Code Ann. § 8-13-700), and relevant regulations promulgated pursuant thereto (collectively "State Ethics Laws"), and the College of Charleston Ethics Policy, Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Actions, and all other College policies of specific application to a particular situation or circumstance.


3.0 Application

This Procurement Code of Conduct applies to all employees assigned to the Office of Procurement and Supply and to all other employees of the College to the extent that they may participate in the College’s procurement process including, but not limited to, defining procurement requirements by way of specification or otherwise, recommending sources to be solicited, specifying mandatory qualification criteria for responsibility or responsiveness determinations, negotiating terms and conditions, awarding a contract, or engaging in source selection decisions or recommendations ("Procurement Personnel").


4.0 Standards of Conduct

(a)    Not solicit or accept money, loans, credits, discounts, or other Things of Value for oneself or another Person in return for exercising or not exercising Official Responsibilities in a particular way or taking, or refraining from taking, a particular action in the employee’s Official Capacity.

(b)    Avoid the acceptance of Gifts from present or potential suppliers.

(c)    Promote positive supplier relationships by providing an environment in which all business concerns, large and small, and regardless of the ethnicity or gender of the principal owners, are given an equitable opportunity to receive College contracts.

(d)    Conduct all purchasing activities in accordance with the South Carolina Consolidated Procurement Code, and all other applicable laws, rules and regulations as may govern a specific procurement, while remaining alert to, and advising management regarding, the contractual ramifications of purchasing decisions.

(e)    Display the highest ideals of honor and integrity in all business relationships in order to merit respect and inspire confidence in the integrity and efficiency of the College.  Avoid actual or apparent unethical or compromising practices in relationships, business transactions and communications with all Persons involved in a procurement transaction.

(f)    When performing Official Responsibilities, diligently follow all lawful instructions while using professional judgment, and reasonable care.

(g)    Not exceed the limits of a delegated procurement authority.

(h)    Refrain from taking any  action, or failing to take any action, that would create an actual or apparent conflict between personal Economic Interests and the interests of the College.

(i)    Not disclose Confidential Information for any untoward or improper purpose including, but not limited to, affording any Person an unfair competitive advantage.

(j)    Constantly strive for the highest standards of ethical behavior; trust, respect, fairness, integrity and credibility.


Guidance and Advice

Guidance on the interpretation of this Procurement Code of Conduct may be obtained from either the Director of Procurement and Supply or the Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs.  Advisory opinions as to the application of State Ethics Laws to a particular situation may be obtained from South Carolina State Ethics Commission.



(see S.C. Ann. § 8-13-100)

The following terms shall have the meanings ascribed to each:

(1)(a) "Anything of value" or "thing of value" means:

(i) a pecuniary item, including money, a bank bill, or a bank note;

(ii) a promissory note, bill of exchange, an order, a draft, warrant, check, or bond given for the payment of money;

(iii) a contract, agreement, promise, or other obligation for an advance, a conveyance, forgiveness of indebtedness, deposit, distribution, loan, payment, gift, pledge, or transfer of money;

(iv) a stock, bond, note, or other investment interest in an entity;

(v) a receipt given for the payment of money or other property;(vi) a chose-in-action;

(vii) a gift, tangible good, chattel, or an interest in a gift, tangible good, or chattel;

(viii) a loan or forgiveness of indebtedness;

(ix) a work of art, an antique, or a collectible;

(x) an automobile or other means of personal transportation;

(xi) real property or an interest in real property, including title to realty, a fee simple or partial interest in realty including present, future, contingent, or vested interests in realty, a leasehold interest, or other beneficial interest in realty;

(xii) an honorarium or compensation for services;

(xiii) a promise or offer of employment;

(xiv) any other item that is of pecuniary or compensatory worth to a person.

(b) "Anything of value" or "thing of value" does not mean:

(i) printed informational or promotional material, not to exceed ten dollars in monetary value;

(ii) items of nominal value, not to exceed ten dollars, containing or displaying promotional material;

(iii) a personalized plaque or trophy with a value that does not exceed one hundred fifty dollars;

(iv) educational material of a nominal value directly related to the public official's, public member's, or public employee's official responsibilities;

(v) an honorary degree bestowed upon a public official, public member, or public employee by a public or private university or college;

(vi) promotional or marketing items offered to the general public on the same terms and conditions without regard to status as a public official or public employee; or

(vii) a campaign contribution properly received and reported under law.

(2) "Business" means a corporation, partnership, proprietorship, firm, an enterprise, a franchise, an association, organization, or a self-employed individual.

(3) "Confidential information" means information, whether transmitted orally or in writing, which is obtained by reason of the public position or office held and is of such nature that it is not, at the time of transmission, a matter of public record or public knowledge.

(4)(a) "Economic interest" means an interest distinct from that of the general public in a purchase, sale, lease, contract, option, or other transaction or arrangement involving property or services in which a public official, public member, or public employee may gain an economic benefit of fifty dollars or more.

(b) This definition does not prohibit a public official, public member, or public employee from participating in, voting on, or influencing or attempting to influence an official decision if the only economic interest or reasonably foreseeable benefit that may accrue to the public official, public member, or public employee is incidental to the public official's, public member's, or public employee's position or which accrues to the public official, public member, or public employee as a member of a profession, occupation, or large class to no greater extent than the economic interest or potential benefit could reasonably be foreseen to accrue to all other members of the profession, occupation, or large class.

(5) "Gift" means anything of value, including entertainment, food, beverage, travel, and lodging given or paid to a public official, public member, or public employee to the extent that consideration of equal or greater value is not received. A gift includes a rebate or discount on the price of anything of value unless it is made in the ordinary course of business without regard to that person's status. A gift does not include campaign contributions accepted pursuant to law.

(6) "Official responsibility" means the direct administrative or operating authority, whether intermediate or final and whether exercisable personally or through subordinates, to approve, disapprove, or otherwise direct government action.

(7) "Person" means an individual, a proprietorship, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint stock company, syndicate, business trust, an estate, a company, committee, an association, a corporation, club, labor organization, or any other organization or group of persons acting in concert.

(8) "Public employee" means a person employed by the State, a county, a municipality, or a political subdivision thereof.

(9) "Official capacity" means activities which:

(a) arise because of the position held by the public official, public member, or public employee;

(b) involve matters which fall within the official responsibility of the agency, the public official, the public member, or the public employee; and

(c) are services the agency would normally provide and for which the public official, public member, or public employee would be subject to expense reimbursement by the agency with which the public official, public member, or public employee is associated.