|INTRODUCTION + CONTACT INFO
The NMNCA/NNMC Ethics Counselor (NNMC SJA) understands the difficulties you experience in navigating the sometimes complex government ethics/standards of conduct waters, which includes the need for certain employees to file a financial disclosure form. To assist both the filers and the supervisors of filers, we developed this guide, which explains, among other things, what the form is, why it’s required, who’s supposed to file it, and, most importantly, how to fill it out correctly (and hopefully as painlessly as possible). Should you have questions about this guide or need more information or assistance in this arena, please contact Ms. Dina Bernstein or CDR Barbara Zeliff at 301-295-2215.
What is the OGE 450?
The OGE 450 is a government-wide financial disclosure form for employees in certain job positions (“covered positions”).
For government employees in “covered positions” the OGE 450 lists their assets/liabilities/outside positions, etc.” to prevent financial conflicts of interest.
The OGE 450 is reviewed/signed by the employee’s supervisor and the NMNCA/NNMC Ethics Counselor (NNMC SJA).
The OGE 450 is considered confidential and is secured in the OSJA safe.
Why is the OGE 450 required?
The Ethics in Government Act requires certain military and civilian employees to file financial disclosure reports.
The Joint Ethics Regulation or “JER” lists 14 principles of ethical conduct required by government employees, one of which prohibits employees from holding financial interests that conflict with “the conscientious performance of duty.”
EXAMPLE: A Government employee involved in purchasing medical equipment should not own stock in that company; action should be taken to prevent a conflict of interest. For instance, the employee should have another individual make the purchasing decision or divest him/herself of ownership in the stock.
Who must file the OGE 450?
Here’s the key: If you touch money or make decisions concerning where money goes, you may be in a “covered position” and need to file the OGE 450.
CIVPERS GS-15 or below (and NSPS equivalent) and MILPERS below 0-7 must file an OGE 450 only if the duties/responsibilities of a position require the employee “to participate personally and substantially1…through decision or the exercise of significant judgment, and without substantial supervision and review, in taking a Government action regarding certain actions” which include:
• Contracting or procurement
• Administering/monitoring grants, subsidies, licenses, or other federally conferred financial/operational benefits
• Regulating/auditing any non-Federal entity
• Other activities in which the final decision or action will have a direct and substantial economic effect on the interests of any non-Federal entity
•Additionally, one can be an OGE 450 filer if “the agency concludes that
the duties and responsibilities of the employee's position require the employee to file such a report to avoid involvement in a real or apparent conflict of interest, and to carry out the purposes behind any statute, Executive order, rule, or regulation applicable to or administered by the employee.”
[NOTE: Senior Executive Service and 0-7 and above employees file a different financial form (SF 278)]
Who doesn’t need to file an OGE 450? Just because you are in a position listed above does not mean you automatically fill out the OGE 450. The OGE 450 is not required if:
• It is unlikely the employee would be involved in a real or apparent conflict of interest. EXAMPLE: Suppose NNMC has a GS–5 procurement assistant who types and processes documents, answers status update questions, and performs other office support functions, such as filing and copying. The employee is not involved with contracting and has no other actual procurement responsibilities. Because it is very remote that this employee would be involved in a real or apparent conflict of interest, the employee does not need to file the OGE 450.
OR • The employee has a substantial degree of supervision
OR • The employee controls matters inconsequential to the DON integrity
OR • The employee controls matters with a low dollar threshold.
EXAMPLE: Micro-purchasers with annual purchases less than $100,000 (the current Federal Acquisition Regulations simplified acquisition threshold) and their certifying officers
- unless the supervisor feels otherwise (duties involve significant independent judgment over matters with substantial impact on the integrity of DON operations and relationships with non-Federal entities.
-unless contracting warrant employees (or others) fall within the “must file” categories.
REMEMBER: WHEN IN DOUBT, CHECK WITH THE OSJA BEFORE FILING THE OGE 450 UNNECESSARILY.
Who decides who files an OGE 450? Not the Staff Judge Advocate! The Staff Judge Advocate is the NMNCA/NNMC Ethics Counselor who administers the program and reviews the forms. The decision for who files the OGE 450 is driven from the top down and rests with the immediate “owner” or supervisor of the employee.
• COMMANDER NMNCA/NNMC RESPONSIBILITY: As head of a DoD Component Command, the Commander NMNCA/NNMC is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all employees required to file the OGE 450 do so on time.
• DIRECTOR/DEPARTMENT HEAD/DIVISION HEAD RESPONSIBILITY: Commander NMNCA/NNMC delegated the responsibility of “who should file” to his Directors, Department Heads, Division Heads. This individual:
• Ensures new entrants to “covered positions” are identified throughout the year and file a timely new entrant report;
• Reviews (scrubs) employee positions to determine those “covered positions” requiring OGE 450 filing [done annually, in the fall];
• Ensures their employees complete/submit the OGE 450s to their first line or immediate supervisor for review and signature and then to the NNMC Ethics Counselor (OSJA) in a timely manner; and
• Ensures their OGE 450 filers complete Annual Training on ethics/procurement integrity; topics change annually.
NOTE: The OGE 450 filer must get his or her first line/immediate supervisor to review and sign the form. That person could be the Director/Department Head/Division Head.
When is the OGE 450 supposed to be filed?
Within 30 days of taking over/assuming the “covered position.” This is your New Entrant report. If you did not file an OGE 450 last year, and you’re told to fill out one now, you’re a new entrant. The “date of appointment” is the date you began working in the OGE-450 “covered position” - not the date you began working for the Federal Government. The report should cover the 12 month period immediately prior to signature. [NOTE: Employees first file as a new entrant, and then become annual filers.]
Annual reports. For annual filers, 15 February is the filing deadline for re-submitting another OGE 450 and includes employee information from the year before (just like taxes). EXAMPLE: Your annual OGE 450 for calendar year 2009 is due to the NNMC Ethics Counselor by 15 February 2010 (completed by you and reviewed/signed by your supervisor).
NOTE: When an employee leaves a “covered position,” there is no need to reflect this change by filing another OGE 450 (unless the employee moves to a new “covered position”).
What if I have nothing new to report since my last filing?
You can use the abbreviated form OGE 450A IF you previously filed a full OGE 450 AND your reported items have not changed. However, you must complete the full OGE 450 form at least every 3 years.
What goes on the OGE 450?
The OGE web site has instructions and frequently asked questions (FAQ) for completing the OGE 450 form.
To make it easier for you, we copied (and tailored) these instructions and FAQs into another Word document [SEE ATTACHED]
REMEMBER: When listing assets, liabilities, outside positions, arrangements, and travel benefits…
Employee and supervisor must actually sign the form (no digital signing yet).
Please ensure that the yes/no questions are completed on the first page of the 450.
Certain items, listed on the form, do NOT need to be reported (Federal Government income, Thrift Savings Plan, etc.) – this will save both you and our office a lot of time!
Please ensure that assets are adequately described. For mutual funds, please name the specific sector fund and ticker symbol. You do not need to list diversified mutual funds (meaning, they are diversified and not concentrated in a particular area, like in medical supplies)
You may have to list the same items in more than one section. For instance, if an outside position generates more than $200 annual income, report this under “Assets” as well as “Outside Positions.”
Underlying assets within investment accounts, college savings plans, and managed accounts (even if you don’t personally manage the account) must be reported.
For spouses, list your spouse’s employer if they are not Federal Government employees, and report their pensions/retirement plans. If the plan includes only diversified mutual funds, write “(invested entirely in diversified mutual funds).”
You may use the following abbreviations to assist in appropriately identifying reportable items: (s) for spouse; (j) for joint assets
If you don’t understand something on the form, first check the FAQs.
Promptly deliver the OGE 450 to Staff Judge Advocate.
What other requirements are there with being an OGE 450 filer? ANNUAL ETHICS TRAINING!
While your OGE 450 is not due until the following 15 February, you must complete Annual Ethics Training by the end of the calendar year. We will send you links to where you can get training online. For instance, the 2009 DOD Annual Ethics Training is posted on the DOD Standards of Conduct Office website at http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/defense_ethics/ethics_training/2009_AET/index.htm.
Where else can I get information? Besides contacting the NNMC OSJA at
301-295-2215, you may want to go to these websites:
* An interactive web-based training module on how to complete the new OGE Form 450) which is appropriate for both experienced filers and new filers alike. http://www.usoge.gov/training/module_files/oge450_wbt_06/homepage.html
* DoD Standards of Conduct Office: http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/defense_ethics/
* Office of Government Ethics: http://www.usoge.gov/index.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1