Alison Bracewell McCullick
Director of Community Relations
- Cell: 706-202-9273
TO: Vice Presidents, Deans, and Associate Provosts
FROM: S. Jack Hu, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
RE: Guidance for Official Contacts with Government Officials
University of Georgia employees have occasion to communicate with government officials in a variety of contexts, both personally and professionally. This guidance is intended to ensure that official communications with government officials reflect the institutional views and priorities of UGA; to ensure compliance with state and federal lobbying laws; and to avoid duplicative or conflicting invitations to campus events.
All UGA employees have the right to express their personal opinions on matters of public concern. When doing so, employees must make clear they are expressing their own views in their personal capacity and avoid the appearance that they are speaking on behalf of the institution.
Some UGA employees routinely communicate with government officials as part of their regular duties within the scope of their employment. As just a few examples of these routine communications, UGA researchers regularly communicate with their contacts at federal agencies; UGA employees communicate with state and local government officials on University real estate and zoning matters; employees in University HR and EOO communicate with regulatory agencies; and employees in public service and extension roles regularly communicate with local government officials throughout the state. These kind of routine communications within employees’ regular duties do not require consultation with the Office of Government Relations (OGR), though OGR is always available for guidance or assistance upon request.
Other official communications with government officials concerning University matters raise different concerns. Only OGR has authority to express the institution’s legislative priorities, and OGR is responsible for compliance with state and federal disclosure and lobbying laws, including the Federal Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995. These laws require filing of accurate quarterly reports of all UGA lobbying-related costs and contacts, and they carry civil and criminal penalties if we are not in compliance. For these reasons, OGR serves as UGA’s principal point of contact with elected and government officials and their staff on legislative matters of institutional concern. Before contacting any government or elected official or their staff in an official capacity on a matter outside of the employee’s routine job duties, UGA employees should notify OGR in advance. When in doubt, please consult with OGR.
Finally, to avoid duplicative or conflicting invitations, employees should communicate with OGR before inviting government or elected officials to campus events.
Thank you for your cooperation in disseminating this guidance to employees in your units. The contact list for OGR is provided on the right.