Managing Conflicts of Interest, Perceived or Real

Good board governance calls for close attention to conflicts of interest through adopted and applied policy and practice.

Colorado Springs Health Foundation takes seriously conflict of interest, and we thought it might be helpful to explain how our policy is applied. First, the Foundation is required to uphold the City of Colorado Springs’s Code of Ethics, and the full board and staff receive annual training on this from the City Attorney’s office. The Foundation’s COI policy is designed to address both real and perceived conflicts, which is important because so many of our board members are community-involved and could be reviewing grants or making business decisions related to these relationships.

Our process requires that any trustee or staff member with a perceived or real conflict must first disclose the conflict and then recuse her/himself from not only any decision on a related matter but also from the discussion. Recusal involves leaving the room. Disclosures and recusals are documented.

Though it can result in a lot of coming and going during a board meeting, it helps ensure that the decision-makers, and more importantly, the decisions are not influenced by a real or perceived conflict.