TO: Colleagues in City Government
FROM: Bill de Blasio, Mayor
Daniel G. Cort, Acting Commissioner, Department of Investigation
Jeffrey D. Friedlander, Chair, Conflicts of Interest Board

RE: Reminder Regarding Holiday Gifts


During this holiday season, we thank you for your public service. We also want to remind you of the public trust we all hold as public servants. As part of that trust, you may not accept gifts or favors in connection with your public service.

Violations of these rules impact public confidence in City government. Violations may also result in serious penalties for you personally. Therefore, we want to remind you of the prohibition against gifts or favors and ask you to help inform and remind your colleagues of these rules to assist them in avoiding problems, as well. Key rules to remember include:

  • Public servants may not accept gifts or "tips" for doing their City jobs, nor may they receive any gifts from any person or firm doing business with the City, or from any person or firm whose interests may be affected by their actions as City employees.
  • Superiors may not accept holiday gifts from their City subordinates, except gifts of nominal value, namely where the “thought of giving” has greater value than the gift itself. A gift may not exceed $10, whether given by an individual or group.
  • Public servants may not accept offers of free attendance at holiday parties or events sponsored by outside entities that are doing business with the City, unless they are given permission to do so in writing by their agency head because their attendance at the event would further a legitimate City purpose related to their City job. You do not need that special permission if you pay for your ticket to the event.

Plain language guidance about common conflicts of interest law questions is available in the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Conflicts of Interest Board’s (“COIB”) website. If you have any questions, please contact COIB for advice at AOD@coib.nyc.gov or (212) 442-1400. The advice you receive will be confidential, and it can also be anonymous. Should you have evidence or suspicion of corrupt activity anywhere in City government, you are required to report it immediately to the Inspector General assigned to your agency. Those reports will be kept strictly confidential.

It is our job as public servants to uphold the public trust New Yorkers have placed in us. Thank you for all you do to serve the people of this great City, and best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season and New Year.