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Advocacy Ethics Guidelines for ARC and its Advisory Councils

Summary

Both federal and state law as well as Seattle City Ethics place certain limitations on ARC’s and the Advisory Councils’ (ACs) ability to engage in lobbying and/or political activities.  Because of this, ARC, the ACs, and any individuals acting on their behalf should not engage in certain activities, including supporting or opposing a ballot measure or a candidate for office.  There are also considerations that need to be made to ensure activities do not undermine the relationship with Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR).  A chart is provided below to help individuals affiliated with ARC and the ACs understand these guidelines.

Encouraged

  • Actively advocate as an advisory council to SPR Executives, ARC Executives, and the ARC Board of Directors on behalf of communities that you represent.
(Involve your SPR Liaison and the ARC AC Manager so they can support and assist in your efforts.) 
  • Provide purely factual information to the public and elected officials.
EXAMPLE: When representing the AC, you may refer to SPR publications for information and communicate objective impacts of a particular decision but not take a position, for or against, when representing the AC. Such as, “with additional community center hours, this many more people could be served.”
  • Personally support or oppose a ballot measure or candidate when acting as a private resident and not as an arc or ac representative.
EXAMPLE: You may voice your support or volunteer for a ballot measure or candidate when acting in your personal capacity.  If it is unclear based on the circumstances whether you are speaking or writing in your personal capacity or as a representative of ARC or an AC, you should preface your comments by explicitly stating that you are acting in your personal capacity, before submitting public comments in support of or in opposition to a ballot measure or candidate.

Unethical

  • Support or oppose a ballot measure or candidate when acting in your capacity as an ac officer or member.
EXAMPLE: While participating in an AC meeting, don’t voice a position or urge others in attendance to vote a particular way.
  • Use of ARC, AC, OR SPR resources to support or oppose a ballot measure or candidate.
EXAMPLE: Don’t work on campaign-related projects in SPR facilities. ARC employees cannot use their work email or phones for communications in support of or in opposition to ballot measures or candidates.
  • Post signs supporting or opposing a ballot measure or candidate on ARC, AC, or SPR reader boards or elsewhere in spaces typically used for official ARC/SPR business.
  • Write letters to elected officials, community members, or fellow advisory council members on behalf of the council supporting or opposing a ballot measure or candidate.