The Homeland Security Department proposed a new rule that will limit the kinds of outside jobs and activities some of its employees can participate in.
But that rule could create a “fear factor” that deters some DHS employees from attending industry events.
“That hopefully will not be the case, but employees on the side of caution will say, ‘I don’t want to deal with that kind of perceived ethical issue,” said Jaime Gracia, industry co-chair of the Better Government IT Working Group and President and CEO of Seville Government Consulting, in an interview with In Depth with Francis Rose.
Conferences — such as the Executive Leadership Conference presented by industry group ACT-IAC — are educational opportunities for federal employees, Gracia said.
“We’ve talked about the need for more collaboration between government and industry. I hope the unintended consequence of these rules is that they do not prevent this kind of collaboration,” he said.
The proposed rule is vague about whether or not DHS employees can attend industry events or speak at events unpaid.
“The rule seems to be amorphous,” Gracia said. “Hopefully, more guidance will be forthcoming.”