Provisions for Implementation of the Code of Professional Conduct
I. Committee on Professional Conduct: The Institute shall have a standing Committee on Professional Conduct.
A. Composition and Appointment. The Committee on Professional Conduct (“Committee”) shall consist of seven members elected by the Council of Fellows. To be eligible to serve on the Committee, potential members must be members of the Faculty of the Institute as defined by The Code of Professional Conduct. The election process will be conducted by the Nominations and Elections Committee of the Council of Fellows who will seek nominations from the Faculty. To insure continuity, members shall serve staggered four-year terms, with one or two members elected each year. Members may not serve more than two consecutive four–year terms. A hiatus of three years is required before former members are eligible to serve again. New members will be elected each year to replace those members whose terms have expired.
The Committee members will designate one member to act as chair of the Committee (“Chair”) for a term of four years. In the event of a vacancy on the Committee, the Council of Fellows will elect another member to complete the unexpired term of the incumbent member. The Chair may appoint a subcommittee of three to initiate and handle formal and informal Conduct proceedings. It is expected that members will recuse themselves in cases where there may be a conflict of interest. The Chair will appoint a substitute to replace any subcommittee member who recuses himself or herself from a case or who is unable to serve for any other reason. If this results in an insufficient number of members to form a subcommittee, then the Council of Fellows will elect additional members.
B. Duties. The Committee on Professional Conduct shall:
(1) Respond to communications regarding the “Code of Professional Conduct of the William Alanson White Institute” (“Code”) and these “Provisions for Implementation of the Code of Professional Conduct” (“Provisions”) and issue advisory opinions regarding the application of the Code to particular conduct.
(2) Pursuant to procedures hereinafter described, the Committee will evaluate the merits of a complaint alleging that a faculty member or candidate of the Institute has breached the Code. Such a review shall enable the Committee to make a decision on the basis of its inquiry. The Committee will maintain strict confidentiality during its process. A breach in confidentiality is subject to discipline under these Provisions.
C. Informal Proceedings and Resolution.
The Committee shall initially try to address a complaint through informal proceedings which can facilitate the efficient resolution of the complaint in a manner that is educational and, if necessary, corrective to the respondent. This can be done by the Chair and a subcommittee, along with the Director of the Institute, if appropriate.
D. Initial Response to Potential Complaint.
(1) Determination of Whether Complaint Merits Investigation. The Chair may appoint a Subcommittee to respond to a complaint. First, this Subcommittee shall determine whether the asserted misconduct by the charged member (“respondent”), if found to have occurred, would constitute a violation of the standards established by the Code. If not, the complainant and the respondent shall be so informed in writing. If the complaint is determined to merit further investigation, the respondent shall be informed in writing and notified of the operating procedures of the Committee and that during the inquiry, the procedures set out in Section (E), below, shall apply.
The standards in the Code will be used to resolve complaints brought concerning alleged conduct occurring on or after the effective date of the Code. Complaints regarding conduct occurring prior to the effective date will be resolved on the basis of the version of the Ethics Code that was in effect at the time the conduct occurred. Ongoing conduct that began when it did not violate the Code in effect at that time, but now does violate the current Code shall be evaluated according to the nature of the conduct and how feasible it would be to discontinue it.
The Chair, with the approval of the Committee, may dispose of a complaint based on undue delay of the complainant in making the complaint, taking into account all considerations deemed relevant.
(2) Communication with Interested Parties
The Committee will furnish any potential complainant copies of the Code and the Provisions which describes the Committee’s procedures for dealing with complaints of conduct in violation of the Code. The Committee will be available for informal consultations regarding a contemplated complaint.
The complainant will also be informed that such complaint must identify the charged member; must be in writing and be signed by the complainant; must clearly describe the facts and circumstances surrounding the charge, citing, if possible, the applicable principle(s) alleged to have been breached; and must be accompanied by a signed statement agreeing to the use of the Institute’s procedures, asking that action be taken and authorizing the distribution of the complaint and other materials submitted by the complainant in connection with the inquiry. In the absence of a complainant, and in the event that the Chair of the Committee or the Director of the Institute have reason to believe that a violation may have occurred, the Director and the Chair, if in agreement, can at their discretion, initiate an inquiry.
The Committee shall next notify the respondent of the complaint, providing copies of the complaint and other materials submitted by the complainant, and the Institute’s procedures and provisions for handling such complaints.
E. Fair Process. The Committee’s procedures for handling complaints of Code violations must assure fair process and provide the respondent with the following:
(1) The opportunity to be notified of, and to address, the charges;
(2) The opportunity, if appropriate and with the Committee’s approval, for the respondent to be assisted in his or her response;
(3) The right to a hearing;
(4) Notice of not less than 30 days of the date, place, and time of the hearing, any persons other than Committee members who will be present and permitted to speak at the hearing; and the respondent's procedural rights at the hearing;
(5) The right to postpone the hearing provided that it can be rescheduled to occur within 30 days of the original hearing date;
(6) The right to submit a written statement at the end of any hearing;
(7) The right to have a record made of the hearing proceedings or to have a copy of the Institute’s record; and
(8) The right to receive the written final decision or recommendation of the Committee, including a statement of the basis for it.
(9) In the event the complainant has filed a lawsuit or a complaint with a state licensing agency or a professional organization, the Committee’s procedures may be suspended until the lawsuit or the state’s or the professional organization’s investigation has been decided.
F. Decision of the Subcommittee. In any case in which formal procedures have been followed, after full and fair consideration of the complaint and all the evidence introduced at the hearing, the Subcommittee shall arrive at a determination as to the appropriate disposition of the case. It may:
(1) Conclude that no Code violation has occurred; or
(2) Determine that there has been a violation of the Code that requires one of the following responses:
(a) Private admonishment;
(b) Censure, which includes notification of the Faculty;
(c) Suspension of all faculty privileges or candidacy for a specified period; or
(d) Permanent termination of all faculty privileges or candidacy;
(3) Conclude that conduct in violation of the Code may have occurred but recommend that no formal finding be made and no sanction imposed pending completion of remedial action recommended and agreed to by the respondent.
G. Review of the Subcommittee Decision
The Chair will present the Subcommittee’s findings and recommended course of action to the full Committee for review. The full Committee will meet, and by simple majority, either accept that a decision was reached following established procedures or refer the case for further proceedings back to the Subcommittee for cause. The full Committee will maintain confidentiality during its review.
H. Notification of Respondent.
Within seven business days after the decision has been reviewed, the Committee shall advise in writing the respondent of its decision.
I. Appeal Process.
The respondent will have thirty days after receiving written notice of the final disposition of a proceeding to initiate an appeal to the Council of Fellows (“COF”). In order to initiate an appeal, the respondent must notify the Chair of the COF in writing. Upon receipt of the respondent’s request for an appeal, the Chair of the COF will gather the necessary documentation from the Chair of the Committee.
The Chair of the COF will convene an ad hoc Appeals Committee of three former Fellows. Within thirty days of being convened, the Appeals Committee shall review the record of the proceedings to ascertain that proper procedures have been followed. If it deems further fact-finding is required, it shall refer the matter to the Committee for the necessary further investigation and deliberation. Confidentiality shall be kept during the appeals process.
J. Notification of Respondent and Institute Faculty.
After a final decision has been made by either review or appeal, the Committee shall advise the respondent and the complainant of the decision. If the decision of the Committee is censure, suspension or termination of the respondent, then the Institute Faculty will be notified.
December 21, 2009