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Employees & Officials

I want to volunteer for the campaign of a candidate for local, state, or federal office

If you’re a non-elected official, decisions you make or actions you take must be unaffected by any political consideration or influence. To ensure that you are not subject to or don’t exercise political considerations in performing your job, Section 10-107 of the City Charter strictly limits political activity by non-elected City officials and employees. Generally, you may not:

  • solicit votes or funds for candidates or parties
  • wear campaign buttons or post political signs or placards
  • distribute campaign literature or circulate political petitions
  • publish a letter or article in support of or against a political party or candidate
  • host, sponsor, arrange, distribute tickets to, or address a political function
  • transport voters to the polls on behalf of a party or candidate
  • participate in a party’s voter registration campaign
  • be a member of a political committee or club (including serving as committeeperson or ward leader).

To ensure that the City’s resources are used only for City business and not for political purposes, you also may not:

  • use City property – such as computers or BlackBerries or fax machines or copiers – to transmit political opinions or commentary or messages supporting or opposing a political candidate or party. If you receive a communication through City property soliciting support for a candidate, you may not use that City computer, BlackBerry, telephone, or fax to respond. Instead, if you wish further information about a candidate, you must seek information using non-City property, such as a personal computer or telephone;
  • display political signs, stickers, banners, or any other political items in a City workplace.

You may:

  • privately express your opinion about any political candidate
  • sign any petition
  • attend a political meeting or fundraiser as a spectator
  • vote
  • make voluntary political contributions (unless you’re a uniformed or investigatory employee of the Police Department, in which case you may not do so).

These restrictions cover most situations; please refer to the Board of Ethics website for more information. Section 10-109 of the City Charter provides that employees who violate these restrictions may face up to a $300 fine, 90 days in prison, and termination.

The State’s election code also prohibits you from serving as an election officer (judge of elections or minority or majority inspector). You may, however, work through the Committee of Seventy as a non-partisan volunteer at the polls on election day to answer voters’ questions and resolve problems. You must take leave to do so.

(Courts, Prothonotary, and Register of Wills employees are not subject to the City Charter restrictions. Some Charter restrictions on political activity may have limited application to City Council staff. Please contact the Ethics Board with any questions.)

How Do I Handle...

IntegrityWorks offers guidance for commonly-occurring situations. These are not the only situations in which ethics rules would apply; they are simply the most common ones. Other guidance may be added to this site as situations warrant.

These are general guidelines. Because each situation presents its own set of facts, this general guidance isn’t advice on which you can legally rely. If you want to be absolutely sure that your conduct complies with applicable ethics laws, you should seek advice before taking action.