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Blogs / ICMA | blog / Tis the Season- To Review Your Local Government's Gift Policies!

Tis the Season- To Review Your Local Government's Gift Policies!

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is full of holiday cheer, and often that cheer involves gift giving! Gifts are great, but they can be a complicated issue for local government officials. Now is the perfect time to review your local government’s specific policies regarding gifts and gift giving so that when you start receiving presents as thank-yous for everything your city has accomplished over the past year, you will know exactly what to do. You can remind all staff about the gifts policy by posting your local government’s guidelines in a place where everyone will see them.

In addition to your specific local government’s guidelines, a number of general policies about gift giving are on the Knowledge Network to help guide you on this issue.

  • “Tis the Season—For Gifts!” is a PM magazine article that provides basic guidelines for developing an effective gift giving and receiving policy based on ICMA’s Code of Ethics.
  • “Regulating Gifts via Policies and Code of Ethics: Sample Approaches” provides three successful approaches to gift-giving policies that local governments have developed. Each of the three policies is outlined in the short paper.
  • “Using the ICMA Code of Ethics to Showcase Professionalism” is a short article from PM magazine about how properly dealing with gifts can be a way to showcase the professionalism of your organization.  This article serves as a reminder that sometimes returning a gift is actually the right move for your local government’s professional image.
  • “The High Price of Gifts” discusses the ethics involved in accepting gifts and points out that your local government’s reputation and the public’s trust need to be part of the thought process when gifts are involved.
  • This Knowledge Network question deals with other times during the year when gifts are received, such as times of employee recognition or retirement.

Feel free to share your local government’s gift giving and receiving policies on the Knowledge Network, as it is always better to give than to receive! [AM1] 


Robin Saywitz

ICMA Knowledge Network Intern


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