Possible Conflict of Interest

TitlePossible Conflict of Interest
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsJacobs, S-E
Corporate AuthorsAmerican Anthropological Association,
PublisherAmerican Anthropological Association
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsANTHROPOLOGY , Conflict of Interest
AbstractBill Quinn is the State Archaeologist for one of the states in the Midwest.Among the many responsibilities of his office is the issuance of antiquities permits to allow qualified archaeologists to do contract archaeology within the state. In this context, his office often defines the scope of the archaeological work to be done, prepares requests for proposals to do the work, evaluates proposals (often submitted by private firms in a competitive bidding situation), decides who will be awarded the contract, and ultimately judges the adequacy of the work performed. Mike is another full-time state employee as the State Highway Salvage Archaeologist. He has decided to open his own (private) firm on the side, and has applied for an antiquities permit so that he too might bid on and receive some of these lucrative contracts. Bill is concerned about this, because even though Mike is an honorable person, he will be placing himself in a potential conflict of interest situation. This is because Mike, as a part of his official duties as a public servant, can take part in (and potentially influence) some of the archaeological contract decisions and evaluations mentioned above. He and/or others in his office would, among other things, be in a position to have prior knowledge of future contracts and be in conflict of interest through the contract process. In short, it would be possible for Mike to use his position as a public official to gain unfair advantage over his competitors in the private sector. Should Bill issue an antiquities permit to Mike?
NotesFrom the Handbook on Ethical Issues in Anthropology, edited by Joan Cassell and Sue-Ellen Jacobs. A special publication of the American Anthropological Association, number 23. http://www.aaanet.org/publications/Ethicshandbook.cfm
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