Project Sunlight is a statewide initiative based on the Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011 and omnibus ethics legislation Ch. 399, Part A4, L. 2011. This legislation is meant to increase government transparency and accountability by providing the public with an opportunity to view certain types of interactions between State agency “decision-makers” and individuals or firms who could influence the agency’s decision-making process. The office of Administration and Enrollment Services is responsible for reporting qualified campus interactions, referred to as “appearances”, to the public database. Our obligation, for the most part, will be the reporting of meetings of influence (“appearances”) having to do with procurement and large scale contracts over $25,000. We are mandated to report these interactions within five days of the appearance. Those employees who are identified as potential “decision makers” and “advisors” are required to participate in Project Sunlight training and report any qualified appearances to the Business Affairs office.
Identification of Decision Makers and Advisors
The college will designate campus decision makers based on title and job function, according to guidance provided by SUNY. Each decision maker will be contacted individually and provided instruction as to Project Sunlight requirements. However, there may be times when an employee not initially identified temporarily becomes a decision maker.
SUNY compliance website (login required)
Requirements for Designated Decision Makers and Advisors
All designated Decision Makers are required to participate in Project Sunlight training and report any qualified campus interactions with vendors or others.
Decision makers must complete training with Human Resources and sign the training certification form.
All qualified appearances must be reported to the Business Affairs Office within three days of the appearance using the form below. This internal deadline enables the campus to report to the Office of General Services (OGS) within the five day requirement.
Project Sunlight Reporting Form (email the reporting form to firstname.lastname@example.org)
What appearances do not need to be reported:
All of the following 'appearances' are excluded for purposes of Project Sunlight reporting:
- Existing contracts:
- Appearances following the award of a contract, or related to an existing contract - no reporting required (so long as the appearance is within the scope of the existing contract)
- Appearances related to State OGS contracts that SUNY can use at will - no reporting required
- Vendor conferences/expos & SUNY conferences that vendors attend
- Appearances at vendor conferences and vendor expos, or appearances where a vendor attends a SUNY Conference - no reporting required
- Language: “appearances” shall not include appearances related to procurement before a SUNY representative that takes place in the public area at which a vendors conference involving multiple vendors, sponsored by SUNY or another entity, occurs"
- RF as a vendor to SUNY:
- We have an existing contract with the RF to do business, generally, so when the RF is acting in a vendor-like capacity for SUNY, it falls under the existing contract exception - no reporting required
- Emergency procurements:
- Appearances related to emergency procurements do not need to be reported
- If appearance is informational and is initiated by SUNY (e.g. market research): reporting is not required
- If an appearance is purely informational, and the person appearing before you is not trying to influence your decision with respect to the five categories of matters, then reporting is not required
- Restricted RFP process:
- Appearances that occur during the restricted RFP process do not need to be reported
- M/WBE information:
- If SUNY reaches out to a M/WBE firm to determine interest in or availability to provide goods or services: not reported
- Discretionary contract finalization:
- A meeting to finalize a contract for any discretionary award does not need to be reported; however, appearances for the purpose of advocating for the receipt of discretionary state funds that have already been appropriated must be reported.
- Medical practitioners:
- Medical Practitioners do not need to report under the law - an exemption was granted for medical practitioners
- What this means practically: When a medical practitioner is wearing a SUNY administrator/ procurement hat, they are a mandated reporter. If they are just a physician who happens to work for SUNY in a physician capacity only, vendor interactions (pharmaceutical reps, medical equipment product reps, etc.) do not need to be reported.
- Written communications:
- Written communications such as letters, faxes, or emails are not considered appearances, and therefore do not need to be reported. Telephone calls, while considered appearances under the law, are optional to report.
- FOIL appeals:
- Appearances related to FOIL appeals do not need to be reported
- “A judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding shall not include (1) Freedom of Information Law appeals pursuant to Public Officers Law, section 89
- Public meetings:
- Participation in meetings which are open to the public, such as conferences or meetings subject to the Open Meetings Law or where a record of the meeting is otherwise available, is not reported
- However, communications outside of such public meetings but with respect to the same matter covered in the public meeting must be reported
- Other state/government agencies:
- Appearances before other state and local agencies and authorities, as well as tribal governments and federal government representatives, do not need to be reported
- Rulemaking related to community college operating aid:
- Rulemaking does not include community college operating aid, so appearances related to community college operating aid are not reported
- Rulemaking & ratemaking related to tuition and fees:
- Rulemaking/ratemaking does not include tuition and fees rulemaking unless an outside advocacy organization is appearing in front of a SUNY person related to tuition and fees rulemaking
- Internal advocacy groups (Student Assembly), and individuals attempting to influence tuition and fees do not need to be reported, but any external advocacy groups appearing before SUNY to attempt to influence tuition and fees do need to be reported
- Student & employee disciplinary proceedings:
- Student and employee disciplinary proceedings are not appearances subject to reporting
- A judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding shall not include employee disciplinary proceedings of the State University of New York, and student disciplinary proceedings of the State University of New York.”
- Webinars that are open to the public do not need to be reported as appearances