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GPA Code of Ethics: Inquiries and Complaint Procedures

Procedures for Reporting and Handling Violations of the GPA Code of Ethics
The GPA Code of Ethics serves as a guide for all members as they are engaged in the field of Grantsmanship. Members are expected to be familiar with and abide by all sections of the Code. If a member suspects or is aware of another member that has violated the Code, it is the member’s responsibility to report the violation to the CEO for investigation. The overall goal is for the questionable activity to cease and to eliminate unethical behaviors.
1. Inquiry - Informal way to ask for and receive advice or counsel on a difficult situation 
Can be an individual looking for advice on a personal situation, advice on something they know another member is involved in, a client calling in about a situation, or simply general advice.

a. Calls/letters/e-mails will be sent to the CEO and marked CONFIDENTIAL:
Grant Professionals Association
10881 Lowell Ave, Suite 190
Overland Park, KS 66210
(913) 788-3000 Phone
(913) 788-3398 Fax
b.  Each inquiry will be assigned a number and recorded in the Ethics Log Book
(Only the CEO will know who the person(s) involved are at this point).
c.   Callers will be referred to the list of Frequently Asked Questions posted on the GPA website to see if their question is addressed.   
d.   For inquiries needing clarification, or for those that aren’t addressed by the Frequently Asked Questions, the CEO will write a brief summary and send it to the Ethics Committee Chair.
e.   A conference call will be scheduled within 5-7 business days for the Grievance Committee (3-5 Ethics Committee members and the Ethics Committee Board Liaison) to review the inquiry and determine which section(s) of the Code of Ethics has/has not been violated. A response will be sent back to the CEO with the committee’s findings.
f.    The CEO will send a letter to the complainant with the details of the Grievance Committee findings, along with appropriate forms for filing a complaint, if warranted.
g.   If the complainant decides not to initiate the complaint process, the matter ends.  (If the matter involves legal or criminal justice activity, the CEO will recommend that the complainant contact other entities/authorities having jurisdiction over such matters.)

If A Complaint Is Lodged Against A Member:
Complaints must be filed within three years from date of offense; No time limit for 1) alleged criminal convictions or 2) false or misleading representations in connection with GPA membership or GPA credentials.
2.   A written complaint is filed with all documentation (Will need to submit in writing with identifying information and any back-up information to substantiate claim.)
a. If a caller wishes to file a complaint, the CEO will send out the Violations Reporting Form to be completed by the complainant and returned to the CEO.
b. Once returned, the file number will be attached to the complaint – Confidential reporting - (Allows us to keep track of who is filing complaints [repeat complaints], who complaints are being filed against and also a means to contact the person(s) involved if more information is needed. This way also protects all parties involved).
c. The CEO notifies the alleged offender (respondent) by Certified/Return Receipt Mail (must be signed for) of the complaint and the section(s) of the GPA Code of Ethics which has been violated. A form for the respondent to respond to the complaint will be included along with a list of possible sanctions. The respondent will have 30 calendar days from receipt of notification in which to respond. If he/she fails to do so within this timeframe, the complaint will be reviewed based upon information and documents from the complainant. 
d. After the 30 days, or upon receipt of the response packet, the CEO will send the entire packet to the Ethics Committee Chair. (At this point, both the complainant and respondent will be identified).
e. A conference call will be scheduled within 3 business days for the Grievance Committee (3-5 Ethics Committee members and the Ethics Committee Board Liaison) to review the information and determine whether the complaint requires investigation or dismissal.
f.  If the respondentis unaware that the activity/behavior he/she has engaged in is actually a violation of the GPA Code of Ethics and agrees to discontinue such action, the issue may be resolved without a hearing or further proceedings.

3.  A hearing takes place if needed (will try to resolve complaint without a hearing)
a. If an investigation is warranted, a Grievance Panel comprised of the Ethics Committee Chair, Ethics Committee Board Liaison, GPA President and 3 members appointed by the President will be convened to investigate. Each member of the panel will be a “member in good standing within GPA” and will be required to sign a confidentiality and conflict of interest form for each panel they serve on.
b. Hearings will be handled electronically. Exact electronic method will be determined on a case by case basis.
c. The complainant and the respondent will be invited to attend the hearing.
d. If the respondent wishes a face-to-face hearing, all costs will be incurred by the respondent.

4.  Upon completion of the investigation, the Grievance Panel will decide to either dismiss the case or issue sanctions. The respondent will be notified of the decision. Possible sanctions (depending on the severity of the offense), may include, but are not limited to:
  • Private reprimand in writing that conduct violates the GPA Code of Ethics
  • Consequences within the organization while maintaining membership (e.g., cannot hold office – chapter/state or national, cannot serve on any committee(s) for 1 year); Chapter President, Board of Directors notified
  • Temporary revocation of membership (1-5 years, depending on circumstances); not allowed to participate in Chapter or National activities during revocation; Chapter President, Board of Directors notified
  • Permanent revocation of membership - member’s name may be listed in GPA members only communications as a formally revoked member *
  • Referral to GPCI for investigation
* Notification statement: (       ), a member of the (      ) Chapter, has been permanently expelled from GPA  by action of the GPA Ethics Grievance Panel, as authorized by the GPA Board of Directors, for violation of the Code of Ethics; a letter of revocation has been sent to the member; and, notification of this action has been given to the GPA Board of Directors. 
If the respondent has been convicted in a civil or criminal court or sanctioned by a government agency, laws prevail over the Code of Ethics – Court sanctions will be accepted by GPA; no need for an investigation within GPA.
5. Appeal process
a.  Respondent must complete the Appeal Section of the Violations Reporting Form and return it to the CEO within 30 calendar days.   
b.  Respondent and GPA Board of Directors may consult with legal or other counsel at any time during the appeal process. 
c.  The appeal will be handled by the Board of Directors and their decision will be final.