Read each of these scenarios; then determine if they get the "red light"
(do not proceed), "green light" (no problems seen), or "yellow light"
(not so sure, proceed with caution or legal advice).
A city firefighter has a house-painting business on the side and
hires other off-duty firefighters. You are thinking about signing
a contract because you know they do a good job and because you'd like
to hear "informally" a little more about how things are going with
the new chief.
You receive a message at your city email address which contains a
series of "dumb blonde" jokes. They strike you as pretty funny, so
you forward the message to your council colleagues and about a dozen
friends outside the city.
A former council colleague sets up a consulting business and approaches
you for a letter of reference. He submits a draft document, which
makes mention of several projects he is taking credit for. You know
that he was a minor player in one of these and feel uncomfortable
with his suggestion that the letter be on city letterhead, "just to
make it more official."
You've been asked to be honorary chair of the Cancer Society Relay
for Life fundraiser. After agreeing to participate, you learn the
organizers are asking the city council to authorize additional police
presence at the event and are requesting a waiver of the mandatory
event permit fees.
A council colleague is president of the local Rotary Club and seeks
to have the state meeting at your city-owned and operated convention
center. You serve on the council's Convention Center Subcommittee,
where it is mentioned that your colleague is asking for a discount
on all services.
Your college fraternity brother has just moved to town and established
his IT consulting business. Although the city has no RFP yet, you
arrange for the current IT director to give him a behind-the-scenes
tour, knowing he is interested in bidding on the contract.
The mayor produces a flier used in his bid to become a delegate to
the Democratic National Convention. In addition to using his official
city portrait, the publication incorporates the memo pad which reads
"From the desk of the Mayor."
After attending the ribbon cutting for the new French restaurant,
you and your wife decide to stay for dinner. The owner indicates the
meal is part of the opening celebration although you notice that all
the other patrons have received bills. When you insist on paying,
he presents a bill which does not include the cost of the champagne
The candidate you're supporting in the upcoming council race calls
to see if you could help him get some photos for his campaign brochure.
He works full time and can only do the photo shoot on Saturday. He
is asking you to open City Hall and allow him access to the council
chambers. You plan to go in on Saturday anyway to pick up your packet,
so it would not be an inconvenience.
You are invited to the San Jose Sharks playoff game by a council
colleague, who says he has an extra ticket - no charge. You're surprised
to find yourself in a box with the vice president of the local cable
provider. More than 50 percent of the time is spent talking about
the cable franchise, and you miss the one Sharks goal of the evening.