Legal Requirements

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A. Conflict of Interest

The Trust's Conflict of Interest policy, state and county conflict of interest laws apply to this solicitation and its contracts. These laws may be viewed at www.ethics.state.fl.us, ethics.miamidade.gov or The Trust Conflict of Interest policy.

Trust employees and current board members cannot participate in any way, or be involved with, the development or submission of any response to a solicitation authorized for funding by The Trust. All applicants must disclose if any employee of The Trust or a current member of its board of directors participated in any manner in the development of a response to the funding application or has any interest, directly or indirectly, in the applicant’s business or in any of its branches. Further, all applicants must disclose the name of any and all grant writers/consultants or agencies involved in the creation of an application. Such disclosure must be submitted as part of the application no later than the proposal deadline.

B. Lobbyist Registration Form

Applicants seeking to influence the actions or decisions of The Trust are advised that in accordance with Section 2-11.1(s) of the Code of Miami-Dade County, a notarized lobbyist registration form may be required. Copies of the form and other information relevant to lobbying efforts are available at www.miamidade.gov/cob/lobbyist-forms.asp.

C. Cone of Silence

The Cone of Silence is designed to protect the integrity of the procurement process by shielding it from undue influences prior to issuing a recommendation for contract awards. The Cone of Silence shall begin at the time of advertisement of the competitive solicitation and shall end when the Chief Executive Officer makes his or her written recommendation to the board. However, if The Trust board refers the recommendation back to the Chief Executive Officer for further review, the Cone of Silence is re-imposed until such time as the Chief Executive Officer makes a subsequent written recommendation.

Restricted Communications

Once the Cone of Silence is imposed, the following persons may not communicate with one another with regard to a particular competitive solicitation:

  • Potential bidders, vendors, service providers, lobbyists and consultants cannot communicate with: a) The Trust’s professional staff, including the Chief Executive Officer; b) The Trust board members; and c) review committee members.
  • The Trust board members cannot communicate with: a) potential bidders, vendors, service providers, lobbyists and consultants; b) the Trust’s professional staff, including the Chief Executive Officer; and c) review committee members.
  • Professional staff, the Chief Executive Officer and his/her staff cannot communicate with: a) potential bidders, vendors, service providers, lobbyists and consultants; b) Trust board members; and c) review committee members.
  • Review committee members cannot communicate with: a) potential bidders, vendors, service providers, lobbyists and consultants; b) professional staff, the Chief Executive Officer and his/her staff; and c) Trust board members.
  • Exception. If a board member declares in writing that he or she shall not participate in the review of the applications submitted in response to the competitive solicitation and shall abstain from voting on the applications when they come before the board for approval, then the board member shall be able to communicate with the following persons/entities, and these persons/entities shall be able to communicate with the board member: potential bidders, vendors, service providers, lobbyists and consultants. The board member must submit his/her written declaration to the Clerk of the Board of The Trust prior to the imposition of the Cone of Silenc

If a person begins to communicate about a competitive solicitation with another person with whom communication is prohibited, that second person is not in violation of the Cone of Silence if he/she advises that the Cone of Silence is in effect and terminates the conversation.

2. Allowable Communications

  • Communications in writing at any time with any Trust employee, official or member of The Trust unless specifically prohibited by the applicable solicitation process. The author of the written communication must file a copy of the written communication with the Clerk of the Board of The Trust.
  • Communications between any person and the procurement agent or contracting officer (or their designated secretarial/clerical staff) responsible for administering the procurement process for such competitive solicitation, provided such communication is limited to matters of process or procedure already contained in the corresponding solicitation document.
  • Communications between procurement agent or contracting officer (or their designated secretarial/clerical staff) and a member of the review committee, provided such communication is limited to matters of process and procedure already contained in the corresponding solicitation document.
  • Duly noticed site visits.
  • Oral communications at pre-bid conference.
  • Oral communications requested by review committees.
  • Contract negotiations during any duly noticed public meetings.
  • Public presentations made to The Trust board
  • The Chief Executive Officer and the chairperson of a review committee may communicate after the review committee has submitted its recommendations to the Chief Executive Officer. However, any change that occurs as a result of such conversation must be reduced to writing and submitted to the Clerk of the Board of The Trust.
  • Communications with the County Attorney and his/her staff.
  • Communications with technical assistance/helpdesk of The Trust.
  • Emergency procurement of good or services.
  • Staff can obtain industry comment or perform market research provided all communications related thereto are made in writing or at a duly noticed public meeting.

3. Consequences

Violation of the Cone of Silence could result in one or more of the following:

  • Investigation by Commission on Ethics. Anyone who violates the Cone of Silence may be investigated by the Commission on Ethics and Public Trust and be subject to: an admonition or public reprimand and a fine of $250 for one violation and $500 for each subsequent violation.
  • Disciplinary action for staff. Staff can be disciplined up to and including dismissal.
  • Prohibition from serving on future review committees.
  • Prohibition on lobbying by lobbyist
  • Voiding of award or contract to bidder or proposer.
  • Debarring the bidder or proposer from entering into future contracts with The Trust.

4. Duty to report

Any person who has personal knowledge of a violation of the Cone of Silence must file a complaint with the Miami-Dade County - Commission on Ethics and Public Trust.