A legislative committee is considering new rules prohibiting the misuse of public property by state employees. The rules would apply to all elected officials, state agencies, state board members, and community college employees. The executive director of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, Charlie Smithson, says it’ll promote public trust. It prohibits the misuse of public property, including “knowingly sending and receiving obscenity,” doing political work while you’re on state property, and doing things that would benefit you privately while you’re supposed to be doing your state job. Smithson says nobody will get in trouble for receiving an unsolicted “spam” porn e-mail. But knowingly viewing a pornographic website could prompt an investigation. Smithson says some of the rules already exist, but there’s nos tatewide standard for enforcement.If a violation is found to have occurred, penalties can range from a letter of reprimand to a fine of up to 2000 dollars, to a referral for criminal prosecution or a recommendation that someone be fired. He says it’s just a way to ensure each agency enforcing its own policies differently, so everyone knows what’s expected of them when they’re “on the taxpayer’s dime.” Smithson says his office is currently investigating a complaint.He says it was charged that a former Des Moines Area Community College employee used the school’s leaf blower at his home. He says if the rules are adopted, that worker could face a penalty for mis-use of state property.
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