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Is it appropriate to give gifts to supervisors?

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- McConnell is in the summer rotation cycle again, and many Airmen are undergoing permanent changes of station. PCS moves usually mean farewell get-togethers, and the question invariably arises, "What can we get the boss as a going away gift?"

To help people find appropriate gifts for outgoing supervisors, the Joint Ethics Regulation issues guidelines concerning gifts to superiors.

Generally, Air Force personnel may neither solicit a contribution from other Department of Defense employees to purchase a gift to a superior nor ask people to purchase gifts for a superior. Airmen also shouldn't donate money for a gift for a superior, and supervisors shouldn't accept gifts from subordinates. However, there are a number of exceptions to these rules.

On certain occasions, such as those where gifts are traditionally given or exchanged, individual presents having a total market value of $10 or less, items such as food and refreshments and personal hospitality at a residence may be given to superiors and accepted from subordinates.

On special, infrequent occasions, such as marriages and births, and during events that terminate a superior-subordinate relationship, such as retirements, separations, or PCS moves, employees may solicit a contribution for a group gift as long as the amount solicited does not exceed $10 per person. The solicitation must also be without pressure or coercion. A good rule of thumb is to make donations anonymous.

The general rule is a DoD employee may not accept a gift if the market value of the present exceeds $300 per donating group or organization. However, groups of employees are permitted to give gifts exceeding $300 in value to superiors during occasions that terminate the superior-subordinate relationship -- provided the gifts are appropriate for the occasion and are uniquely linked to the departing employee's position or tour of duty and commemorate the same.

Remember, under all circumstances, gifts must be truly voluntary.

For more information, call the McConnell Legal Office at 759-3590.