(208)345-4907 1001 S Orchard Street, Boise, Idaho 83705

Employee Handbook – Section 3

Here is a summary of what the BC/AC Housing Authority expects from you.

Personal Appearance
Employees with a neat, clean appearance are important to our operation, especially when those employees are dealing with the public. How you look is the image the public has of the BC/AC Housing Authority. Employees should wear clothing appropriate to their job, and present an appropriately professional image.

Casual attire is acceptable on all Fridays. Dress slacks or nice denims that are clean, neat and pressed may be worn. In warm weather, neat, appropriate length shorts may be worn. Revealing attire such as extremely short or tight shorts, skirts, or low cut blouses are not acceptable. Even on Friday, all employees should dress in accordance with the business activities planned for the day.

Some employees may be required to wear specific types of clothing, due to the nature of the job or safety requirements. When in doubt, ask your supervisor for assistance in determining what is appropriate.

Participation in BC/AC Housing Authority Administered Programs
All employees, except the Executive Director, may apply for participation in programs administered by the Housing Authority for which they qualify. Any interested employee must submit a letter expressing his/her interest to the Executive Director for approval. Employees will be considered for participation in the Housing Authority programs and on the same terms as all other applicants, except that the Executive Director must be notified at the time the application is submitted. If an employee’s application is approved, the employee and the Board of Commissioners will be notified of the terms under which the employee may participate in the program.

Relatives of all employees, except the Executive Director, may apply for participation in programs administered by the Housing Authority for which they qualify. Relatives of employees will be considered for participation in the Housing Authority programs and on the same terms as all other applicants, except that the employee must notify the Executive Director of the relative’s interest when the application is submitted. If the relative’s application is approved, the Executive Director shall alert the Board of such approval.

Computer Usage
As a BC/AC Housing Authority employee, you may use computers extensively in your job. A few rules are necessary so that everyone can get the maximum benefit from the Housing Authority’s investment in technology. The principle underlying each of these rules is that BC/AC Housing Authority computers may be used for Housing Authority business purposes only.

In order to protect BC/AC Housing Authority’s computer system from viruses and ensure that the software used is compatible with the Housing Authority’s computers, only software purchased or approved by the Housing Authority may be installed on its computers. Before installing any software not purchased by the Housing Authority, you must check with the Executive Director. Games and other non-business related software may not be installed on Housing Authority computers or used during work time. Software purchased by BC/AC Housing Authority is for legitimate Housing Authority business use only. It may not be copied or taken home.

Copyright Compliance
Software is protected from unauthorized duplication by law. BC/AC Housing Authority respects the legal rights of software developers and expects employees to do the same. No employee may duplicate software, or otherwise use software other than in accordance with the terms of its license. Software that has been duplicated without authorization may not be installed on Housing Authority computers. Copyrighted material should not be sent via Housing Authority e-mail or on the Internet.

Electronic Media
Electronic mail, as well as voice mail, may be used only for Housing Authority business. All electronic media communications should be professional and business-like in tone. You should not use electronic media for jokes, gambling, games, derogatory or discriminatory remarks, or commercial messages. Sending and receiving personal e-mail messages should be limited to before and after work or during lunch or breaks. Remember, Housing Authority management has access to all e-mail, and you should not consider e-mail or voice mail communications private. Confidential or sensitive communications via e-mail are not advised. As a matter of courtesy to other system users, please try to keep e-mail messages brief, limit general broadcasts, and delete unneeded messages.

Internet Access
The Internet is an important source of information, but it is also subject to being abused. Internet access should be limited to legitimate BC/AC Housing Authority business purposes only. Signing up for list-serves, bulletin boards or chat groups is not allowed. The Housing Authority’s Internet access may never be used for accessing pornographic or other inappropriate web sites. Before accessing a site, ask yourself how a member of the public might react to the knowledge that you were using Housing Authority resources for this activity.

With regard to Internet e-mail, the same rules apply as to inter-office e-mail.

The Housing Authority has the capacity to check what web addresses are being accessed by a particular employee and monitor how much time each day an employee is spending on the Internet. Please keep this in mind when you access the Internet.

Use of BC/AC Housing Authority Property
BC/AC Housing Authority supplies and equipment must be conserved for the authorized conduct of official business and for such services as are available to the public generally. They are not for personal use. Housing Authority stationery, supplies and postage may not be used for personal mail. You should have all personal mail delivered to you at your home address. The Housing Authority cash drawer may not be used for cashing personal checks.

If you are entrusted with Housing Authority equipment, materials or property to use in your job, you are responsible for its proper use and maintenance. If you need to borrow or take home BC/AC Housing Authority property for official business, you must have authorization from your supervisor.

All communications technology is the property of the Housing Authority and may be used only for official business. Please limit incoming and outgoing personal phone calls to necessary calls and keep them to a minimum. When personal, long distance use is unavoidable; you should call collect or charge the call to a home telephone, personal credit card or phone card.

BC/AC Housing Authority may provide a locker, cabinet, or desk for your personal belongings. Only Housing Authority-provided locks may be used on these facilities. The Housing Authority reserves the right to inspect Housing Authority-owned property with or without notice, for legitimate business reasons. The Housing Authority is not responsible for employee valuables, vehicles, or personal possessions brought onto its property.

The proper operation of a democratic government requires the public officials and employees be independent, impartial and responsible to the people. That government decisions and policy be made in the best interest of all. That public employment not be used for personal gain. Finally, that the public have confidence in the integrity of its government. The Code of Ethics are the rules that govern the conduct of BC/AC Housing Authority commissioners, officers and employees. Violations of the BC/AC Housing Authority Code of Ethics may be misdemeanors and can carry criminal penalties. Any violation of the Code of Ethics may also lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Fiduciary Duty
Every BC/AC Housing Authority official, officer, and employee owes a fiduciary duty to the BC/AC Housing Authority and to the Citizens of the City of Boise and Ada County. This fiduciary duty is defined as a duty to act for the benefit of the citizens of the City of Boise and Ada County, while subordinating ones personal interests to those of the City and County as a whole. When an employee expends any resources of the BC/AC Housing Authority, this fiduciary duty requires that the expenditure be reasonable, prudent and for the benefit of the BC/AC Housing Authority and not for personal gain. It is the highest standard of duty implied by law and is required by this policy.

Standards of Conduct & Discipline
We all succeed at BC/AC Housing Authority when we respect the needs and interests of the public, the Housing Authority and our coworkers. BC/AC Housing Authority believes in progressive discipline, which calls for appropriate discipline in appropriate circumstances. Normally, this will call for “coaching” or counseling initially, to be followed by more serious discipline (such as written reprimands, disciplinary probations, suspension or discharge), if the Housing Authority determines that the situation is not improved or becomes more flagrant. However, management will review each situation independently and make a decision on what it deems to be appropriate discipline in all cases, up to and including discharge.

The decision to use progressive discipline in a given case is an attempt to improve the performance or behavior, but does not change the at-will nature of the employment relationship.

Some examples of conduct that may lead to discipline or discharge include:

• Insubordination;
• Unauthorized release of BC/AC Housing Authority, client or co-worker information;
• Swearing or verbal abuse while on Housing Authority premises;
• Falsification of any work, personnel, or other Housing Authority records;
• Unauthorized taking, removal or usage of Housing Authority funds or property;
• Dishonesty;
• Discrimination against or harassment of coworkers;
• Possession, consumption, or being under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance at work or on Housing Authority premises;
• Deliberate damage to or misuse of Housing Authority property;
• Bringing a weapon onto Housing Authority property;
• Fighting or threatening to fight with another employee;
• Serious misconduct of any kind;
• Accepting a gift in violation of the Housing Authority gift policy;
• Poor performance;
• Failing to obtain or maintain professional licenses required as a condition of employment;
• Plea of guilt or conviction of official misconduct while employed, or the conviction of a crime that reflects negatively on the Housing Authority as an employer;
• Excessive absenteeism or tardiness or failure to report in when absent or tardy;
• Failure to comply with safety or security rules and procedures;
• Violation of any BC/AC Housing Authority policy.
These examples are not allinclusive; other behavior may also be grounds for discipline or discharge.

It is critical for BC/AC Housing Authority to present a consistent and positive image to the public. Therefore, it is important to respect these simple guidelines regarding disclosure of BC/AC Housing Authority operations:
• To ensure proper documentation and accuracy of information, Housing Authority responses to incoming correspondence should be in writing by the appropriate Housing Authority personnel and copies provided for the agency correspondence file. In all serious or significant matters, correspondence should be reviewed by the Executive Director before being sent.
• Employees should refer all agency related media personnel to the Executive Director.
• Extra care should be taken to protect the privacy of client information, particularly with regard to those outside the Housing Authority.
• All Public Record Requests must be referred to the Executive Director, the Assistant Director for Administrative Services, Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director or the Department Manager for handling in compliance with applicable rules and policies.

Most importantly, use common sense and good judgment when communicating with outside parties about BC/AC Housing Authority business.

Employee Suggestions and Concerns
We all benefit when employees have an opportunity to share both suggestions for improving our operations, and concerns about problems they may be having.
If you have an idea for improving the way we do things here at BC/AC Housing Authority, please share it. It is always appropriate to share such ideas informally with your co-workers and/or supervisor. We also encourage you to write your suggestion down and submit it to the Assistant Director for Administrative Services or the Executive Director.

It is our hope here at BC/AC Housing Authority to try to do what is appropriate and reasonable at all times in our daytoday relations with our employees. To that end, all employees, including supervisors, are urged to use the Employee Concern System to address work related concerns. A “concern” is any question or dispute regarding the interpretation or application of the Housing Authority’s personnel policies and procedures, or other work-related situation. We encourage you to raise any and all work-related concerns. You will not be retaliated against for raising concerns through this process.

The Employee Concern System is set forth below. Steps must be taken in succession.

Step One: Your Supervisor

Each employee is encouraged to take up his/her own employee concern with his/her immediate supervisor. To be sure that we are dealing with current information, please raise any concerns within two working days of the occurrence or date that you become aware of it. If the concern is resolved at this step and it relates to disciplinary action, your supervisor should place a memo in your personnel file regarding the resolution. If your concern involves your immediate supervisor in a way that you are reluctant to discuss it with him/her, please go directly to Step Two. If your supervisor does not respond or his/her response seems unreasonable or not satisfactory, you may go on to Step Two.

Step Two: The Assistant Director of Administrative Services

Step Three: Executive Director

If your concern is not resolved at step one or two, you should present your concern in writing to the Executive Director as soon as possible, and no later than seven working days later. After your matter has been studied, and the Executive Director takes whatever steps s/he deems appropriate, s/he will then issue a written response to you, generally within 20 working days of receipt of your concern at Step One. The decision of the Executive Director will be final and binding. The final resolution, if it relates to a disciplinary action, will be noted in your personnel file.

If the matter involves violations of Housing Authority Policies, local, state or federal law please proceed to the Whistle Blower Protection Policy.

Reporting Improper Governmental Action/ Whistle Blower Protection
BC/AC Housing Authority recognizes and supports the right of every employee to report, and to be protected from retaliation for reporting alleged improper governmental action in good faith. Improper governmental action is action by a Housing Authority commissioner or employee that is undertaken in the performance of their duties that violates law, abuses their authority, is a danger to the public health or safety or is a gross waste of public funds. It generally does not include personnel actions.

What You Can Do
If you suspect improper governmental action, report it immediately, in writing, to your supervisor, the Executive Director, or a commissioner. You can also report directly to outside agencies responsible for investigation and enforcement of the law. We encourage you to exhaust internal procedures before going to outside agencies.

What We Can Do
The recipient of the report will promptly investigate the report and you will be advised of the result of the investigation. Your identity will be as confidential as the law permits.

You will not be retaliated against if you act in good faith and provide information in accordance with this policy. If you feel you have experienced retaliation, please provide written notice of the charge no later than 30 days after the occurrence to your supervisor or the Executive Director. The Housing Authority will respond within 30 days. If you are dissatisfied with the response, you may request a hearing before an administrative law judge.

For More Information
For additional information about outside agencies, the hearing process, or any other rights you may have under the law, please consult your supervisor, the Assistant Director of Administrative Services or the Executive Director.

Conflict of Interest
As a quasi-public entity, BC/AC Housing Authority employees are governed by the following statutes governing ethics in government: I.C. §§ 18-1351 et seq. and 59-701 et seq. Therefore, it is particularly important that the BC/AC Housing Authority avoid situations involving actual, potential, or perceived conflict of interest. Accordingly, no Housing Authority employee may engage in any activity that conflicts or appears to conflict with the performance of his/her official duties. Examples of such conflicts include:
• Use of BC/AC Housing Authority property or money for one’s own or another’s personal gain;
• Use of your official position to secure privileges or exemptions for yourself or someone else;
• Entering into a contract, subcontract, or arrangement, in connection with any HUD assisted project, in which a Housing Authority employee, or any member of his/her immediate family, has any interest;
• Acceptance or solicitation of a favor or item of economic value offered to influence your official actions, or from any party involved in a transaction or contract with the Housing Authority;
• Involvement in any business or professional activity, including outside employment, that would be incompatible with your responsibilities to the Housing Authority; and
• Having an interest, directly or indirectly in any contract, sale, lease or purchase that is under your supervision or which would benefit you personally.
If you have any questions about whether conduct creates a real or potential conflict of interest, please refer to the ethics in government statutes cited above.
It is not a conflict for a BC/AC Housing Authority employee to:
• Attend a hosted reception or meal in conjunction with a meeting regarding Housing Authority business or where official attendance as a staff representative is appropriate;
• Receive a publicly presented award in recognition of public service; or
• Receive a gift which would have been offered or given to you regardless of your employment with the Housing Authority.

Housing Authority employees who discover inadvertent conflicts of interest or who have questions regarding whether activities may be, or appear to be conflict of interest, should submit the matter to their supervisor for consideration and discussion.

Housing Authority employees are subject to a one year separation rule. Under this rule, any employee or any business in which an employee has an ownership interest or management position is prohibited from entering into contracts or otherwise doing business with the Housing Authority for one year following the termination of his/her employment.

Housing Authority employees are also subject to the Annual Contributions Contract provisions with respect to the HUD Section 8 assisted projects and the Section 8 Existing Housing program.

Outside Employment
Outside employment by BC/AC Housing Authority employees must be approved in advance, because of the potential for interference with responsibility to the Housing Authority and actual or apparent conflicts of interest. Employees may not hold outside employment if such employment would limit the employee’s availability for work, would be conducted during work hours or use Housing Authority resources, is with a firm that contracts with the Housing Authority, or could otherwise be perceived as a conflict of interest or result in a poor image for the Housing Authority.

If you are considering outside employment or need more information about potential conflicts of interest, please talk to your supervisor or the Executive Director. The ultimate decision to approve outside employment rests with the Executive Director and the Board of Commissioners.

The BC/AC Housing Authority expects all employees to exercise their professional judgment objectively and to make business decisions based solely on the best interest of the Housing Authority. The acceptance of gifts and business courtesies by the employee for his or her personal benefit (hospitality, entertainment, trips, discounts, use of a person’s time, material, or equipment for less than fair compensation) from those with whom the Agency has active or potential business relationships could detract or appear to detract from the objectivity with which these business judgments are exercised or business decisions are made.
The following guidelines should be followed with respect to all gratuities or business courtesies:
• Housing Authority employees shall never, in their official capacity, solicit any gratuity, benefit, or business courtesy from any person.
• Employees shall not accept gratuities or other benefits (excluding memorabilia, souvenirs, educational materials, and other items of nominal value) from any person who is subject to their oversight or who is likely to become interested in any transaction over which they exercise any discretion.
• A gift, benefit, or business courtesy may be accepted only if the nature and value of such gift, if publicly disclosed, would not embarrass the Housing Authority, as determined by the Executive Director.
• A gift, benefit or business courtesy may be accepted if the nature and value of the gift would not compromise, or be perceived as compromising the objective judgment of the employee or the Housing Authority, as determined by the Executive Director. Under no circumstances shall any gift, benefit, or business courtesy be accepted which exceeds $50 in value.

Political Activity
BC/AC Housing Authority recognizes and fully supports the right of employees to vote, to express their opinions and to participate in any political campaign. However, for the good of the Housing Authority, and to avoid potential conflict of interest, please keep in mind the following guidelines.
• Public facilities or resources may not be used to assist the campaign of a candidate or the promotion or opposition of a ballot proposition; employees may not assist any campaign during work hours.
• Employee who may come into contact with the public may not wear or display campaign buttons or literature during business hours.
• Employees participating in fund raising or other campaign activities must make clear that they do not represent the Housing Authority and the Housing Authority does not endorse the candidate or position.
• Employees may not attempt to obtain political contributions from co-workers through threat or promise of differential treatment on the job.
• Employees may not be candidates or hold elective offices in any partisan election.

Driving on BC/AC Housing Authority Business
The BC/AC Housing Authority has motor vehicles that employees may be permitted or required to use from time to time for Housing Authority business. If a BC/AC Housing Authority vehicle is not available, you may have to drive your own vehicle. To avoid injury or liability to you or the Housing Authority, please observe the following rules:
• To be approved as a driver for Housing Authority business, you must present a valid, current Idaho driver’s license and proof of car insurance to the Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director. The Administrative Assistant will keep a copy of your driver’s license in your personnel file. This information will be reviewed and verified on an annual basis. You must have your license and proof of insurance with you when driving on Housing Authority business.
• Do not loan out a Housing Authority vehicle to others inside or outside of the agency.
• Drive in a safe and legal manner, including complying with Idaho seat belt laws. The Housing Authority may periodically check the driving records of individuals authorized to drive on Housing Authority business.
• Please report any problems with any Housing Authority vehicle to your supervisor and the Maintenance Department Supervisor immediately.
• Do not drive on Housing Authority business under the influence of drugs, alcohol or any controlled substance.
• Do not affix bumper stickers or other signs or stickers to a Housing Authority vehicle.
• Notify your supervisor and the Executive Director of any citations for moving violations received while operating a Housing Authority Vehicle.
• No smoking in company owned vehicles.

Illegal Conduct Reporting Procedure
BC/AC Housing Authority employees are required to report all incidents of suspected physical or sexual abuse, abandonment or neglect of a child discovered while on Housing Authority business. This includes conditions or conduct you actually observe as well as reports of such abuse from a victim or other witnesses.

The suspected abuse should be reported as soon as possible to your supervisor, the Assistant Director of Administrative Services or the Executive Director and in no event, later than 24 hours after you learn of the abuse. If you cannot reach your supervisor, you should contact one of the following authorities:

  • Child Abuse Investigator of the Boise Police Department at (208) 377-6592 or 377-6607.
  • Boise Police Department Dispatcher at (208) 377-6607.
  • Child Protection Division of the Idaho State Department of Welfare at (208) 334-6800.

No employee will be subject to disciplinary action for making a report of suspected abuse that is not later substantiated.

BC/AC Housing Authority employees are also encouraged to report any other suspected illegal activity occurring on Housing Authority property or under any of its programs to their supervisor. This includes conduct involving violent or theft crimes, unlawful manufacture, distribution, possession or use of controlled substances, and possession of illegal weapons.

No employee will be subject to disciplinary action for making a report of suspected illegal activity that is not later substantiated.

Employee Handbook – Continue to Section 4

Current Issue Date: June, 2005
Replaces Issue Date: January, 1997